Korea’s largest bookseller, Kyobo, and wireless technology company Qualcomm are opening the book on a new color e-reader with an advanced display.
The Kyobo-branded e-reader features a 5.7” XGA mirasol (1024 x 768 pixels) color screen that is closer to the grayscale e-ink displays used on e-readers like Amazon’s Kindle, Sony’s Reader and Kobo’s eReader than the LCD displays used on existing color e-readers such as the Kindle Fire, Apple iPad or Barnes and Noble Nook Tablet.
The Kyobo is the first device in the world to use Qualcomm’s coveted mirasol display technology and its release marks a significant step forward for e-reader display technology.
Inspired by the colorful and reflective surface of a butterfly’s wings, mirasol displays are made up of tiny mirrors that create colors by reflecting ambient light.
High outdoor visibility, quick refresh rates, touchscreen interaction and a long battery life are among the benefits of this new technology.
Customers in Korea will be the first to get their hands on the Kyobo e-reader, which was unveiled in Seoul, South Korea on Tuesday, November 22.
"Having been with the mirasol technology nearly from day one, I revel with the many QMT engineers and employees who have dedicated themselves to the development of mirasol display technology," said Clarence Chui, senior vice president and general manager of Qualcomm MEMS Technologies, Inc. "This announcement is especially rewarding and makes good on our promise to bring to market in 2011 the world’s first e-reader to feature color and interactive content, outdoor visibility and battery life measured in weeks."
The e-book reader is tailored for Korean consumers and includes access to Kyobo’s library of 90,000 e-books plus video lectures, content sharing via Korean social networking services and English text-to-speech capabilities.
Under the hood is a 1.0 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon S2 processor and a customized version of Google’s Android 2.3 mobile operating system.
The device is available for purchase in South Korea for KRW349,000 (US$310). Qualcomm and Kyobo are yet to announce (if and) when the device will be available internationally but suggested that "[w]ith a new fab [fabrication plant] in Taiwan coming online later in 2012, higher volume production will be possible.”
Consumers around the world can take a virtual tour of the new device on the mirasol display website: