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.
We’ve been tracking mirasol for several years now, Qualcomm’s color display technology that promises color, video-capable e-paper with battery life akin to monochrome E Ink screens. This particular panel is a 5.7-inch, 1024 x 768 display using Qualcomm’s front-light technology that uses LEDs to make the eReader usable in darkness. There’s also a projected capacitive touchscreen, as on the NOOK, and WiFi, though no 3G.
Kyobo – Korea’s leading bookstore – will offer 90,000 ebooks for the mirasol eReader, as well as video education content, integration with social networking services and English text-to-speech support. There’ll also be a searchable dictionary, along with magazines and other content for “downtime” between classes. The retailer is expected to lock down its Gingerbread install, but we can’t imagine that will dissuade the legion of Android hackers likely to find the slate appealing.
Part of that appeal is lengthy battery life, likely to exceed three weeks of regular use. Unfortunately there’s no word on when – or if – the Kyobo eReader might go on sale outside of South Korea, but we wouldn’t be surprised if Qualcomm had some further mirasol announcements to make at CES 2012 in January.