[CES] Qualcomm Subsidiary to Release Color MEMS Display in 2010

Jan 17, 2010
Yasushi Uchida, Nikkei Electronics
James Cathey, Vice President Business Development of Qualcomm MEMS Technologies Inc (QMT)
James Cathey, Vice President Business Development of Qualcomm MEMS Technologies Inc (QMT)
[Click to enlarge image]
A prototyped electronic book reader is equipped with QMT's "mirasol" reflective display. Its display uses a resonator developed with MEMS technology as a pixel.
A prototyped electronic book reader is equipped with QMT's "mirasol" reflective display. Its display uses a resonator developed with MEMS technology as a pixel.
[Click to enlarge image]

Qualcomm MEMS Technologies Inc (QMT), a subsidiary of Qualcomm Inc, disclosed a plan to commercialize the "mirasol" display, which the company developed by using its own technology.

The mirasol is a reflective display that uses an interferometric modulator (IMOD), a small resonator developed with MEMS technology, as a pixel. It leverages the fact that some wavelengths of light are strengthened and weakened by the light reflected from an IMOD. And it displays various colors by changing the length of the IMOD (in the direction of incident light) (See related article).

QMT plans to start commercial production of the mirasol in the second half of 2010 and expects that its business partner will release an electronic book reader equipped with the display by the end of 2010.

The production model has a screen size of 5.7 inches and a resolution of 1,024 x 768 (240ppi). It is a color display capable of playing movies at 30fpt.

"In the market for electronic books, there is a strong demand for color displays that can show magazine articles and advertisements," said James Cathey, Vice President Business Development of QMT. "The mirasol is a strong solution to meet such demand."

The most distinctive feature of the mirasol is that its power consumption is 10mW or less even when a color image is displayed.

"E Ink's electronic paper, which is currently used for most of the electronic book readers, consumes electricity only when an image displayed on the screen is being changed," Cathey said. "And it is not frequently changed when we read a book on a reader, lowering the power consumption."

"However, things are different when electronic paper is used to display color newspaper or magazine," he continued. "When reading them, we frequently scroll down and up and zoom in and out. In other words, a much higher screen refresh speed is required when electronic book readers become colored. Compared with color electronic paper and LCD panel, the power consumption of the mirasol is 1/6 and 1/4-1/3, respectively."

He also said that the production cost of the mirasol will eventually be equivalent to or lower than that of LCD panels because it does not require a backlight unit, color filter, TFT circuit and so forth.