Qualcomm is investing $2 billion to manufacture its low-power Mirasol display technology thanks to a new “major client”. It’s also a signal that it’s confident that it will make a huge splash, particularly as tablets and e-readers become staples of consumers’ gadget bags.
Mirasol takes a cue from nature — specifically butterfly wings — for delivering full-color images. Qualcomm accomplishes this feat of biomimicry by leveraging MEMS technology to manipulate light into displaying a full array of colors with e-ink-like power savings. You can see how it works here.
According to the Motley Fool, CEO Paul Jacobs sees an opportunity for Mirasol in the $11 billion a year market for low-power displays. One of Mirasol’s obvious applications is full-color, video capable e-readers. Amazon has admitted that it’s currently testing the technology, sparking the possibility of full-color Kindles down the pike. LG, a maker of everything from HDTVs to mobile displays, might offer the tech in tablets and smartphones.
The bad news? Volume shipments won’t begin until 2012, which means that we’re unlikely to see a color e-reader from Amazon before its Kindle 5.