The mirasol-toting Kyobo eReader continues to taunt us from afar, with its color e-paper display capable of video playback, though first impressions from early hands-on have proved mixed. Both TweakTown and NetbookNews grabbed some playtime in Taipei this week, coming away generally impressed with the screen refresh rates - just under 30fps, so good enough for video - though with some concerns around color quality.
Qualcomm still hasn't announced any plans for a mirasol-based ereader outside of the Kyobo model launched in Korea this week, so we're having to make do with vicarious enjoyment such as this live demo of the color device in question. Fresh to YouTube and apparently filmed at a display section in one of Kyobo's retail stores, the eReader looks pleasingly responsive with its 1GHz Snapdragon processor.
Kyobo Book Centre and Qualcomm have revealed the world's first ereader to use a mirasol color e-paper display, the Android-based Kyobo eReader. On sale in South Korea today, priced at the equivalent of $310, the Kyobo eReader is targeted at education customers rather than would-be iPad buyers, and runs Android 2.3 with a locked-down custom UI on a 1GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon S2 processor.
The first device to use Qualcomm's mirasol display technology has been cancelled, according to CEO Paul Jacobs. Speaking at Uplinq 2011 this week, Jacobs revealed that the device - an ereader expected to sell in low-volumes as a trial in the market for the backlight-free color epaper screen - fell short of his expectations and so the company decided to shelve it and focus on its successor.
Qualcomm's mirasol display technology may not be on the market in any meaningful form yet, but the company sure knows how to put a mockup together. Fresh for SID 2011 this week is this 4.1-inch WVGA smartphone concept Engadget spotted, pairing the transflective color e-paper panel with what looks to be the intelligent front lighting system shown last week. Meanwhile, Qualcomm also had a new timescale for when, exactly, mirasol-toting hardware might actually go up for sale.
Amazon may not have just one Android tablet in the works, but a whole range of devices using the Google open-source OS. That's the latest rumor, anyway, shared with Android and Me by a trusted "industry insider" who claims the much-speculated slate is only one of Amazon's "family of devices" headed to its virtual shelves this coming holiday season.
Adding illumination to e-paper screens seems pretty counter-intuitive - after all, what makes the display technology special is that it looks like paper and doesn't need backlighting - but that's just what Qualcomm has done with its latest mirasol prototype. It makes sense, too, The Digital Reader discovered when Qualcomm whipped out the ereader mock-up at CES On The Hill this week; rather than backlighting the display, the new mirasol model actually has an embedded front light.
Talk of an e-paper based iPad has rumbled around since the reveal of the first-gen model, but so far Apple has proved unwilling to move beyond its multi-purpose IPS LCD display and consider either monochrome or color e-ink panels. According to a freshly published patent application by the company, however, they've at least given thought to the merits of electronic paper; in a submission titled "Systems and Methods for Switching Between an Electronic Paper Display and a Video Display" Apple describes a layered display sandwich which would combine traditional LCD and e-paper screens.
We're not sure if this is a pre-emptive glimpse of Pocketbook's mirasol-based ereader, set to get official at CES 2011 this week, or another mockup design by Qualcomm to show off the mirasol display technology, but either way we like it. The slate appears to use Qualcomm's existing 5.7-inch mirasol panel - which, as you probably remember, works indoors and out, requires no active backlighting, and can show color video - as well as Android.
Video after the cut