Hello,

We noticed you're browsing in private or incognito mode.

To continue reading this article, please exit incognito mode or log in.

Not an Insider? Subscribe now for unlimited access to online articles.

Will Knight

A View from Will Knight

Qualcomm Puts Its Mirasol Color E-reading Screens to Sleep

The company says it will no longer make or sell the once-promising display technology.

  • July 23, 2012

Qualcomm has announced that it will no longer manufacture and sell its Mirasol reflective color screen technology. Although a handful of Chinese e-readers come with Mirasol screens (see “Color E-Readers Finally Available to Consumers”), and Qualcomm says it will license the technology to other manufacturers, it seems like the end for this once promising idea.

The pixels in Mirasol displays produce color by acting as imperfect mirrors, tuning the light they reflect to specific wavelengths. The same trick gives hue to the wings of iridescent butterflies and the feathers of peacocks. These screens thereby combine the advantages of a black-and-white e-reader display (low power consumption, and clarity in direct sunlight) with those of a conventional LCD screen (full color and a quick refresh rate). But there is some speculation that the technology proved too difficult for Qualcomm to manufacture reliably enough for the consumer market.

We’ve followed the development of the technology, and Qualcomm’s early efforts to commercialize it extensively in the past (see “New Color Screen Combines Beauty, Readability” and “E-Reader Display Shows Vibrant Color Video”).

Another company working on advanced e-reader screens, Plastic Logic, made a similar announcement  in May this year. So we’ll sadly be forced to choose between two imperfect types of e-reading experiences for a while yet.

Tech Obsessive?
Become an Insider to get the story behind the story — and before anyone else.

Subscribe today

Uh oh–you've read all of your free articles for this month.

Insider Premium
$179.95/yr US PRICE

Want more award-winning journalism? Subscribe and become an Insider.
  • Insider Plus {! insider.prices.plus !}* Best Value

    {! insider.display.menuOptionsLabel !}

    Everything included in Insider Basic, plus the digital magazine, extensive archive, ad-free web experience, and discounts to partner offerings and MIT Technology Review events.

    See details+

    What's Included

    Unlimited 24/7 access to MIT Technology Review’s website

    The Download: our daily newsletter of what's important in technology and innovation

    Bimonthly print magazine (6 issues per year)

    Bimonthly digital/PDF edition

    Access to the magazine PDF archive—thousands of articles going back to 1899 at your fingertips

    Special interest publications

    Discount to MIT Technology Review events

    Special discounts to select partner offerings

    Ad-free web experience

  • Insider Basic {! insider.prices.basic !}*

    {! insider.display.menuOptionsLabel !}

    Six issues of our award winning print magazine, unlimited online access plus The Download with the top tech stories delivered daily to your inbox.

    See details+

    What's Included

    Unlimited 24/7 access to MIT Technology Review’s website

    The Download: our daily newsletter of what's important in technology and innovation

    Bimonthly print magazine (6 issues per year)

  • Insider Online Only {! insider.prices.online !}*

    {! insider.display.menuOptionsLabel !}

    Unlimited online access including articles and video, plus The Download with the top tech stories delivered daily to your inbox.

    See details+

    What's Included

    Unlimited 24/7 access to MIT Technology Review’s website

    The Download: our daily newsletter of what's important in technology and innovation

/
You've read all of your free articles this month. This is your last free article this month. You've read of free articles this month. or  for unlimited online access.