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Aug 25th, 2010
Qualcomm to spend $2 billion on e-ink-busting mirasol display plant
According to an article from Journalist Kit Eaton, Qualcomm is about to invest some $2 billion in small change in a new plant for Mirasol displays--the half-LCD/half-e-ink screen tech that can play video in sunlight. It's all thanks to a "major client." Are we talking Amazon here?
LCD tech, particularly if you're referring to the advanced in-plane switching displays found in some modern gadgets, is the bees knees of flat-panel displays. It's got long lifespan, good contrast, excellent pixel response speeds, potentially retina-busting resolution, and in combination with LED backlighting, it can provide excellent brightness. But its performance in direct sunlight is barely acceptable, and since it requires electrical power to change the pixel states and to light it, it's very unfriendly to portable device batteries. Think iPad, and you're thinking of this screen tech.
And who's the customer? Is it Apple? It could be, assuming the Mirasol plant produces a number of screens of different sizes--possibly suiting the iPhone 6 (presumably due in 2012) or a refreshed iPad that could boast better daylight e-book reading powers. Or is it Amazon? Jeff Bezos himself has said a color e-ink display is some way off, and the business market for dedicated e-reader hardware is likely to take some serious damage at the hands of tablets like the iPad.
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