Hands-On With Qualcomm’s Mirasol eReader Display

LAS VEGAS — When we last left Qualcomm’s Mirasol display in December, it was making its debut on the South Korean consumer market in the Kyobo eReader. And here at CES, we were able to get some hands-on time with two more eReaders sporting Qualcomm’s unique color display, the Hanvon C18 and Shanghai Nutshell’s Bambook, both of which will be available in China this year. Unfortunately, the displays’ image quality left us wanting more.

Both the C18 and Bambook feature 5.7-inch XGA versions of the marisol display with resolution of 1024 x 768 pixels. Powering both eReaders are Qualcomm’s 1.0-GHz Snapdragon S2 processor running Google’s Android 2.3 Gingerbread operating system. From an aesthetic standpoint, the C18 and Bambook are somewhat ho-hum looking devices. They feature a black glossy coating around their 5.7-inch displays and gray, textured coatings around back.

Performance wise, you’ll notice that the C18 and Bambook stutter a bit as you swipe between images. When new images loaded we could see the eReaders’ mirasol displays at work, with a small amount of pixels showing up on screen and twinkling until the images were done loading.

Because the mirasol display uses ambient reflected light to create images on the C18 and Bambook’s screens, moving the eReaders underneath bright lights made colors on the displays look richer. Move the eReaders away from the light and colors become dulled and washed out. Because the mirasol display is able to refresh quicker than a standard eInk display at 30 frames per second, users can watch videos on both the Hanvon C18 and Shanghai NutShell Bambook, although movies didn’t look particularly impressive.

Neither the C18 or Bambook are headed to America; they will only be released in China. But Qualcomm representatives assured us that the company is talking with other manufacturers to get the displays in eReaders for the American and European markets.

Daniel P. Howley
Daniel P. Howley
A newspaper man at heart, Dan Howley wrote for Greater Media Newspapers before joining Laptopmag.com. He also served as a news editor with ALM Media’s Law Technology News, and he holds a B.A. in English from The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey.
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