As more and more devices get even better upgrades in terms of processing speed, massive memory, and skyrocketing download rates, the only thing that is left behind would probably be the display. More new mobile devices are being introduced each month, but they still share the same common problem: poor to decent battery life. The likely culprit behind the huge consumption of power could be attributed to the bright lights in the phone’s LCD screen just to generate an image.
One practical alternative to the mammoth power consumption comes from the e-Ink technology used in Amazon’s Kindle. Consuming less power, it does have its drawbacks by sacrificing color quality and image stabilization for smooth video playback.
With the introduction of Qualcomm’s much-awaited display technology called Mirasol, which uses interferometric modulator display (IMOD) technology, we could expect to see much improvement in our phones’ battery life, which could last days or weeks once the technology fully materializes for mass production. Compared to traditional LCDs, IMOD can render vibrant colors with amazing clarity through the use of interference of reflected light that trims down power consumption down to a tenth of a scale.
The technology used was highly anticipated as the first prototype was featured in Technology Review using a 5.7-inch full-color Android tablet for a test run. Surprisingly, the prototype aced the test as it was responsive enough for a video demonstration and a game of Angry Birds delivering promising results with up to 30 frames per second.
From what we know, the new Mirasol display will feature faster response times in high definition videos and will also achieve superb color combinations in picture clarity.
According to a study conducted by Pike Research that was released last year, it was estimated that a 5.7-inch Mirasol display is capable of holding twice as much battery power for uninterrupted Web browsing.
The reason behind IMOD’s success can likely attest to the fact that the screen uses printed-page-like images, the same technology found in Amazon’s Kindle. It also features a built-in light for those hard-to-read places(e.g., a dark room) where the presence of natural light is absent.
When Qualcomm acquired Iridigm Display Corporation way back in 2004, it took them years to fully commercialize the technology under the Mirasol banner, but since then, we still didn’t catch a glimpse of IMOD technology being implemented in many mobile devices. Although there are promotional videos of the Mirasol display posted way back in 2009, Qualcomm is still trying to perfect the technology before it gets released.
Just recently, Qualcomm had already made deals to sell their products on mobile company giants such as Samsung, HTC and LG, with plans already rolling out for their future phones being integrated with the Mirasol display. If everything turns out well, we could expect to see Mirasol-powered displays during the second half of 2012.
By that time, Qualcomm will already be shipping out Mirasol displays cheaper by the dozen. We’ll have to wait and see how Mirasol displays fare out to the present technology once it hits the market.
As we wait on the arrival of the first Mirasol display devices, check out the video below and tell us how this breakthrough technology outshines current LCD screens found in many mobile phones.