There’s a great deal of talk floating around lately about the potential for a color Kindle device by the end of this year. It’s always been something of a given that a color display with the positive attributes of eInk would be developed and put into production at some point, but few believed it could realistically happen before the end of the year. Now, however, Mirasol Displays is claiming to have a working 5.7″ color eInk-like display in production and on order to a number of clients with delivery expected toward the end of this year and the beginning of next. Further comments revealed that while the earliest adopters will be eReader producers, the fact that these new screens can display 30 frames per second, operate in full sunlight, and and support touchscreens makes them perfect for cellphones and other portable technologies. If these screens live up to their potential and affordable production is already beginning, this could well breathe even greater life into products like the Kindle, allowing them to retain all their current usability and address naysayer complaints about refresh rate and monochrome displays all at once. All that remains to be seen is where things go from here in terms of price, availability, and whether or not Amazon(NASDAQ:AMZN) is among the early adopters.
The eInk display technology (the same one that is used on Kindle screens) has a new rival. Far more than LG’s micro foil technology that is used by Hearst, Qualcomm’s Mirasol display technology is threatening to overtake eInk by the end of this year. Mirasol, as we reported earlier, is a new display technology that is being developed by a team of researchers under the banner of Qualcomm — their primary sponsor. The main advantage of this technology is that it has the capability of producing RGB pixels. That means full color displays. And it doesn’t stop there either.
Mirasol can also display video and decent frame rates and according to those who saw the demo at CES 2010 — it is a very promising new technology. Because even though the screen is doing full color video, the developers claim that it has a 6x battery advantage over eInk under average eInk usage. The overlaying of a capacitive touchscreen allows the screen to become touch enabled but reduces the display’s sharpness slightly. Still, it is supposed to be capable enough to take over the eInk displays. To give you an estimate – if your eInk display device lasts one full day on a single charge, the same device will last for 6 days on the same single charge and battery if it uses a Mirasol display. Of course, this is all theoretically speaking but the real world value is still likely to be quite high.
Mirasol can easily be read under direct sunlight like the eInk screens and it can also be evenly backlit for dark situations – something that the eInk screens are not equipped for. Mirasol is likely to hit by the end of 2010 and the first screens will be around 5.7 in size — enough for medium sized eBook readers and may be even tablet devices. Watch the video for a look at what it looks like.