Graphene membranes may hold the key to low-power color e-paper

Researchers from the Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands designed graphene-based "mechanical pixels" that could, among other applications, be someday used to enable color IMOD e-paper displays.

Graphene ''balloons'' for color pixels in e-readers image

In these so-called "graphene balloons", a double layer of graphene (two atoms thick) is deposited on top of circular indents cut into silicon. The graphene membranes enclose air inside the cavities, and the position of the membranes can be changed by applying a pressure difference between the inside and the outside. When the membranes are closer to the silicon they appear blue; when the membranes are pushed away they appear red.

Qualcomm shows next-gen SMI-Mirasol displays with a higher color gamut and pixel density

Qualcomm unveiled their next-generation Mirasol displays that use a single mirrors to achieve a better color gamut than previous Mirasol displays. These new displays are called SMI (Single Mirror IMOD). Qualcomm showed prototype 5.1" , 2560x1440 (577 PPI) displays.

In SMI-IMOD displays, a single pixel can create all colors - there's no need for three different subpixels as in previous generation IMOD displays. An IMOD (Interferometric Modulator) display shows a color using a mirror film that changes its orientation to create a cavity that interferes with the light. An SMI-IMOD pixel has a mirror that change both its orientation and depth - which enables it to show all colors.

Qualcomm's Mirasol Toq smart watch to launch on December 2nd for $350

In September Qualcomm unveiled the Toq smartwatch that uses a small full-touch Mirasol display. They promised they will release it later in 2013 and indeed now Qualcomm announced that the Toq will be available on December 2nd - for $350.

Other Toq features include Bluetoothm, Wi-fi and a wireless charging dock that also doubles as a case for the optional bluetooth headset. It supports Android 4.0.3 and higher.

Qualcomm unveils an android-companion smart watch with a Mirasol display

Qualcomm unveiled a very interesting smartwatch called Toq that uses a small full-touch Mirasol display. This is an Android-companion device (for 4.0.3 devices and higher) that hopefully will be released later this year. It features Bluetooth and Wi-Fi and has a wireless charging dock that also doubles as a case for the optional bluetooth headset.

Qualcomm unveils a 5.1" 2560x1440 (557 PPI) Mirasol display

Last year Qualcomm announced that it is no longer planning to mass produce Mirasol displays, but will attempt to license the technology for other companies. But it seems that Qualcomm is still developing the technology. During SID 2013 the company unveiled their latest panel, a 5.1" display with a resolution of 2560x1440 (yes, that is 577 PPI!). They are also showing a smaller, 1.5" panel with the same pixel density (600x600 resolution).

Mirasol displays offer a rather washed-out image (the color reproduction cannot match LCD or OLED displays) but the power consumption is about a sixth compared to LCDs.

Qualcomm decides to scrap plans for Mirasol production, will license the technology instead

Qualcomm revealed in their latest financial conference call that it scrapped Mirasol production plans. The company will no longer attempt to produce these panels, but will try to license the technology for other companies to produce. They will also limit their direct commercialization to "certain" devices - I'm not totally sure what this means.

That's sad news, as the technology is very interesting, and the prototypes shown at SID 2012 were very impressive (above you can see 1.5" 288x192 30Hz Mirasol display panel prototypes). The company did produce some 5.7" color panels (and three e-readers are shipping using those panels) Apparently Qualcomm didn't manage to overcome the low production yields. Mirasol production was planned since back in January 2011, but were later delayed several times. The original plan was to invest $1 billion in a Taiwan-based factory.

Kyobo launches the world first Mirasol e-reader

Kyobo (a leading Korean book retailer) launched its first e-reader today - and it uses a color Mirasol display - a capacitive touch 5.7" 1024x768 panel with Qualcomm's front-light LED technology that can illuminate the display. Other features include a 1Ghz processor, Android v2.3 and Wi-Fi. The e-reader is now shipping in Korea for around $300.

Mirasol devices coming by middle 2012

Qualcomm's CEO Jacobs promises that Mirasol displays will be in "full production" soon, and e-reader devices that use these displays will ship by the middle of 2012. The company is currently focusing on 5.7" displays for e-readers, but Mirasol displays will also be suitable for Tablets.

Mirasol explain delays, shows 4.1" mobile phone concept, expects at least one 5.7" e-reader by end of 2011

There's a very interesting post over at Engadget about Mirasol displays. The company is showing a concept 4.1" phone which looks nice, but these kind of displays are 3-4 years away. The company says that they were actually expecting several e-reader products with Mirasol displays, but Apple iPad changed all that and all the device makers scrapped their plans. They do expect at least one converged e-reader with a 5.7" Mirasol display by the end of the year.

Read more over at Engadget.