Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Qualcomm's Butterfly Wing Display Gets Nearer

Unknown Lamer posted more than 2 years ago | from the stare-at-the-sun dept.

Displays 168

holy_calamity writes "Technology Review has an update on a screen technology from Qualcomm called Mirasol that delivers LCD-like colors and video but sips power like e-ink. Demonstration Android tablets with 5.7 inch Mirasol displays apparently held up well in bright light and were responsive enough for gaming. Qualcomm are in the process of building a $1 billion new factory to make the screens, which should appear in devices from phone and tablet makers next year."

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Soon (5, Insightful)

jmorris42 (1458) | more than 2 years ago | (#38068114)

Between this and a couple of other low power passive displays working their way to market, one of them is going to succeed. And change everything.

The display is one of the biggest power hogs right now. The radios in cell phones are also pretty hungry but having an always on display will be game changing. Then when you consider the work on various memory techs that eliminate idle current and the lifetime issues with flash, things are going to continue to be very interesting in the tech world.

Re:Soon (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38068222)

Interesting at the expense of hardware engineers. Why do hardware engineers have to put in all the time, effort, and knowledge, and get paid less than software engineers, while software engineers who make Phone apps and stupid facebook games reap in millions in venture capital ?

This imbalance will only spur the mass exodus of smart EE's from hardware into software. Look out, software people of this gen and next gen !

Re:Soon (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38068362)

This imbalance will only spur the mass exodus of smart EE's from hardware into software. Look out, software people of this gen and next gen !

If they produce software of the quality I've seen from hardware folk the software engineers have nothing to worry about.

Re:Soon (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38068376)

Because hardware engineers are too busy enjoying their jobs?

Re:Soon (5, Insightful)

nanoflower (1077145) | more than 2 years ago | (#38068388)

LOL. Hardware engineers can often make more than software engineers in the same company. What you are talking about is people that go off and make their own products that other people buy. That could be hardware or software. Consider the case of two guys named Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak that built a company started out with a hardware product (and some software to drive it.) It doesn't matter what your background is so long as you can come up with a decent product that people want. Hardware/software/literature/movie/clothing. Come up with a good product at a decent price and figure out how to market it and you too can make millions. T

Re:Soon (2)

Eternauta3k (680157) | more than 2 years ago | (#38068702)

It's a different time, back when they were building PCs in their garage it wasn't consumer electronics. Nowadays you can't hope to make a tablet, PC or whatever without getting some serious funding. The alternative is producing more expensive goods so you don't compete with massive factories in China for slim profits.

Re:Soon (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38069962)

I've been forcefully assured by the Slashdot geniuses that 3D printing has revolutionized home manufacturing. Why don't people just 3D print fully functional PCBs with billion transistor CPUs directly from the ABS feedstock?

Re:Soon (5, Interesting)

LordNimon (85072) | more than 2 years ago | (#38068722)

This imbalance will only spur the mass exodus of smart EE's from hardware into software.

God, I hope not. The worst code I've seen is almost invariably produced by EEs. The last thing the software world needs is more hardware engineers who want to "try out" being a programmer. No thanks.

Re:Soon (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38068826)

This imbalance will only spur the mass exodus of smart EE's from hardware into software.

God, I hope not. The worst code I've seen is almost invariably produced by EEs. The last thing the software world needs is more hardware engineers who want to "try out" being a programmer. No thanks.

FWIW I've seen some hw architected by software engineers "trying out" being a hardware architect, and believe me that ain't a pretty sight either.

But then I've seen that there are people who are good at both so as with all generalizations, it depends ;^)

The diference being (2)

publiclurker (952615) | more than 2 years ago | (#38070244)

that the hardware guy can usually get something, no matter how bad, to appear to work. All of the software guy created hardware I've seen could barely catch fire.

Re:Soon (2)

jimmydevice (699057) | more than 2 years ago | (#38070376)

I didn't think most EE's these days even know which end of a soldering iron to hold. Most of the hardware development is programming. All my EE friends seem to be shifting to the dark side.

Re:Soon (4, Funny)

penguinstorm (575341) | more than 2 years ago | (#38068230)

Shit. I thought we already changed everything. I'm not buying anything else until we stop changing things!

Re:Soon (1)

peragrin (659227) | more than 2 years ago | (#38068254)

i have been waiting for a mirasol or pixi q tablet for 6 years when I first heard of the displays. I am tired of waiting and waiting and waiting. Just put out a decent device with the display and you will sell enough to pay for that building.

Re:Soon (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38068382)

How do you suppose they put out a decent device to pay for the factory they need to build to mass produce the screens?
chicken and egg?

Re:Soon (1)

vakuona (788200) | more than 2 years ago | (#38068896)

Sell to someone big. Like Apple. seriously, if the tech is that good, Apple will want it, and will pay for it. That 80bn cash pile that Apple has built up is good for something.

Samsung has a competing display tech, so probably won't be interested.

Re:Soon (2)

fyngyrz (762201) | more than 2 years ago | (#38070486)

That 80bn cash pile that Apple has built up is good for something

Is it? Ever since Jobs got sick, basically since Leopard, which is really pretty decent, Apple's been producing poorer and poorer OSX and IOS releases. IOS5 has many, many problems, and also, apparently intentionally, inflicts a rather wicked planned obsolescence on Leopard users -- wifi sync doesn't work. And then there's the *way* they implemented wifi sync. Previously, you had to connect to your PC/mac, and it would sync via USB. Now (assuming you're not using Leopard), you (a) have to plug the iDevice into power, (b) you have to start iTunes, and then it'll sync. This isn't any more convenient from plugging it into the computer to sync in the first place. What were they thinking? Snow Leopard broke quite a few drivers and applications. Lion dumped the PPC emulator for no particular reason. There is a fairly pervasive rumor they're thinking of dropping the Mac Pro, and there is this "sandboxing" thing they're planning on doing to apps from the Mac app store (goodbye programs that talk to one another.) There's still no midrange tower. The mini lost its optical drive. Then there's this batshit idea of "fullscreen apps" that basically crap all over multiple monitor setups (yeah, you guessed it, I have multiple monitors.)

Maybe it'll work out -- but right now, to me, at least, it seems like things are changing in a new direction: decisions I can't get behind, one after another.

Re:Soon (1)

omfgnosis (963606) | more than 2 years ago | (#38070596)

since Leopard, which is really pretty decent, Apple's been producing poorer and poorer OSX and IOS releases

Really? Granted I didn't upgrade to "Lion" until 10.7.2, but I've never experienced a smoother OS upgrade, and I never upgrade to a 10.x.0 release. Basically my experience was that everything I cared about worked as well or better, with the exception single-app Exposé, which I rarely used anyway.

And while I won't dismiss reliance on 5+ year old software out of hand, anyone with a workflow where they can't or won't update that software should be researching new OS upgrades beforehand; and if that's your primary complaint about "Lion", it doesn't seem like there's a lot to complain about.

Re:Soon (1)

fyngyrz (762201) | more than 2 years ago | (#38070754)

You're quite right -- I did research my upgrades, and found that it would have been a very bad idea indeed to move beyond Leopard -- so I didn't. Nor do I plan to. Luckily, Leopard is on optical media, and is very amenable to Hackintoshery, so even if Apple drops the Mac Pro, when the time comes to upgrade my machine, I'm still going to be running Leopard on a heck of a nice machine. It just won't be an Apple. I'll either run Leopard native, or in a VM. Not worried about it at all. Been fixing some of the bugs in Leopard, too, so it's more reliable. Started with the cron/console false error message bug [fyngyrz.com] they never fixed.

Unfortunately, WRT IOS5, they didn't "bother" to announce the 10.6 requirement until quite a while AFTER they released it, trumpeting the wifi sync capability. So I ended up with IOS5 on my iPad, and now many of my most commonly used apps crash, wifi sync doesn't work at all, notifications don't clear, and I have that turd of a "bookshelf" stuck in my previously nicely arranged folder collection, making a useless page all off by itself and messing up my single-page arrangement.

Re:Soon (1)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 2 years ago | (#38068442)

I have been waiting for a mirasol or pixi q tablet for 6 years when I first heard of the displays. I am tired of waiting and waiting and waiting. Just put out a decent device with the display and you will sell enough to pay for that building.

Is there something wrong with the Pixel Qi model of the Notion Ink Adam?

Re:Soon (3, Funny)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 2 years ago | (#38068946)

Other than the fact that somebody attached it to a Notion Ink Adam, not really...

Re:Soon (1)

peragrin (659227) | more than 2 years ago | (#38069202)

except you can't buy it any more, very heavy, oh and it comes with the shittiest software stack since windows me.

Re:Soon (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38068960)

I'm enjoying my Pixel Qi Samsung - you have to make your own with the screen from Maker Shed. If you get the right netbook, it takes about thirty min to swap out the screen.

Re:Soon (4, Interesting)

somersault (912633) | more than 2 years ago | (#38068354)

Indeed.. 30fps from a colour e-ink display. I can hardly imagine how strange it would be watching a video on one of these things.

This is the beginning of the end of printed magazines, now that people can't complain about eye strain from backlights. It will also be damn cool to be able to do real "living photos" without a backlit display.

Modifiable tattoos is another fun use that they're already doing with monochrome e-ink - being able to have them in colour that doesn't fade would be awesome too. The whole reason I haven't got a tattoo so far is that I know I'd probably want to change the design at some point.

Re:Soon (1)

mark-t (151149) | more than 2 years ago | (#38068758)

The applications are indeed very far reaching... from having things that look like full motion paintings (think "Harry Potter"), to changing the pattern on the wallpaper in your house, to changing the colors of the clothes that you are wearing, all at a push of a button.

In other words, Ray Bradbury got it right. (3, Interesting)

xmark (177899) | more than 2 years ago | (#38070520)

About a lot of things, actually.

Re:In other words, Ray Bradbury got it right. (1)

brantondaveperson (1023687) | more than 2 years ago | (#38071046)

True, but it remains doubtful that the wallpaper will eat your parents.

Re:Soon (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38069510)

All Hollywood movies are at 24 fps and yet they don't seem strange at all. As long as the fps is constant and above a minimum threshold, it'll be fine.

Re:Soon (1)

Mystiq (101361) | more than 2 years ago | (#38069824)

OH MY GOD WILL YOU PEOPLE STOP PERPETUATING THE FACT "MOVIES ARE 24 FPS SO THAT'S ALL YOU NEED"

No but seriously, movies and tv are only at 24 fps because of motion blur. If you play a game on a computer where you can control the frame rate (via video options), get an application like Fraps that will show you the frame rate and try to get the game to run at 24 fps, then at 60 fps. You will see a massive difference because the game is showing individual frames with no motion blur.

This link is very informative on the topic:
http://www.100fps.com/how_many_frames_can_humans_see.htm [100fps.com]

Re:Soon (1)

RobbieThe1st (1977364) | more than 2 years ago | (#38070308)

Yes No Maby.
Thing is, as far as the content goes, it comes in 24 or 30fps rates, so as long as you can do those consistantly without variation, it will look fine.
Gaming on the other hand, you'll need to add lots of motion blur to make it look acceptable. That being said, even at 120hz(I've got an aw2310 and no 3d glasses for a reason...), motion blur helps.
But I'd not want to a 30fps screen for much in the way of transitions or scrolling, as it'd definitely be somewhat jerky.

Re:Soon (2)

mug funky (910186) | more than 2 years ago | (#38070344)

action movies are often shot with extremely fast shutter speeds, essentially removing the motion blur.

also, you need to swap the word "fact" with "myth".

Japanese movies are coming out at 30fps progressive, now that digital projection is commonplace.

Best practice with cinematography is that the camera should not be moved too fast, on account of the 24fps shutter making motion very staccato, and the faster things move, the more obvious the flickering becomes. some slow graceful pans can appear completely smooth in a cinema, but since Dogma and the Bourne movies popularised hand-held, all the best practice cinematography rules have been thrown out the window, in spite of how shitty the result looks.

btw, 100fps.com is not a good resource. it's simplistic and plain wrong in parts. not a bad place to start, but you'll spend a lot of time being corrected if you do start there.

Re:Soon (1)

ShakaUVM (157947) | more than 2 years ago | (#38071250)

>>Indeed.. 30fps from a colour e-ink display. I can hardly imagine how strange it would be watching a video on one of these things.

Yeah, that's got to be the most revolutionary bit about it.

I've never bought a Kindle or any other e-ink device (though I tested plenty) because you can read a book in the time it takes to refresh the screen, which sort of defeats the point.

Re:Soon (1)

Twinbee (767046) | more than 2 years ago | (#38069118)

Not forgetting those upcoming "Lithium Air" batteries.

Too little too late (5, Insightful)

manekineko2 (1052430) | more than 2 years ago | (#38069316)

We've been hearing about this technology for years now, and unfortunately it's taken it so long to get to market that I think they've missed their market window.

Smartphones and tablets, spurred on in large part by Apple, have entered into an arms race of display quality with consumer displays the likes has never been seen before. The sort of displays our mobile devices have make our computer monitors look shameful, with AMOLED pushing the boundaries in terms of true blacks and contrast ratios and viewing angles, and ever-higher resolutions pushing DPIs to the boundaries of human sight. Most LCD IPS displays, which are the cream of the crop for desktop monitors and better than any flat-screen TV, are really just average at best these days in the mobile world.

The Mirasol displays, at least the ones that have been demoed, have never been the highest quality displays. Their two huge advantages are daylight-readability and low power-consumption. Those are two very positive traits, but at this stage, I don't really foresee anything outside of a niche market giving up ordinary-circumstance display quality for these.

Re:Too little too late (1)

rasmusbr (2186518) | more than 2 years ago | (#38069680)

Okay, but smartphones and tablets were niche markets (at best) 10 years ago. Maybe power-efficient passive displays will enable a niche market to grow.

For example solar-powered (or perhaps indoor light powered) advertisement and signage might become a big thing. Why solar powered? Well, in many places getting grid power to a sign can be difficult or expensive for bureaucratic/regulatory reasons.

Re:Too little too late (1)

manekineko2 (1052430) | more than 2 years ago | (#38070676)

No doubt, these things seem great for niche-markets. Color, motion-capable e-readers seem awesome.

I do hope that they find their niches, and get the funds to continue to improve the technology. Because if you could get the resolution/angles/contrast of modern mobile displays onto something like a Mirasol display that is low power and daylight-readable and low-eyestrain, obviously that would be the best case scenario.

Re:Too little too late (1)

mug funky (910186) | more than 2 years ago | (#38070350)

colour accuracy has never been worse.

as an apple h8er, i'll concede that their screen is the best in the tablet market, but it's in no way accurate (especially when it's crusted with grease marks).

domestic LCD/LED/plasmas are all shit in this regard if left at factory settings, but at least when you calibrate them they can actually reproduce the whole gamut. the current crop of netbook and tablet displays can't do full saturation at all, meaning if you tweak a picture to look good on one, i'll look like a bad, over-colourful joke on a proper screen.

* disclaimer: i worked for years as a telecine colourist

Re:Too little too late (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38070516)

thats silly, the reason apple et al. increase the resolution isn't because people wanted it - that was the only thing they could improve. everyone wants better batteries, and once battery life improves an order of magnitude it will be a major game changer in the way and possible uses for modile tech

Re:Too little too late (1)

initialE (758110) | more than 2 years ago | (#38070608)

On the contrary, I think this is an excellent time to bring out new technology on products that the market already wants. Every iteration of a smartphone or tablet needs to bring out something different, something new, in order for people to ditch perfectly functional gadgets and get their hit of the latest coolness. In the end, it all boils down to how well you do your sales pitch, but underlying it is the assumption that you actually have something new to sell.

Re:Soon (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38069618)

Hyperbole much? What is this going to change? Oh wow, the fashion accessory/toy that everyone seems to need and not use 99% of its functions will last a bit longer on a charge. What will that change? Will it reduce the work week to 20 hours a week? Will it change our dependence on finite energy resources? Will it feed the hungry, house the poor? Jesus get your head out of your ass. It's a display technology.

Re:Soon (1)

mug funky (910186) | more than 2 years ago | (#38070362)

yes, much hyperbole.

Re:Soon (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38070148)

Yeah great, now we're going to have lifetime issues with the display.

This display technology seems very physically fragile. It has actual real physically moving parts inside of it. Millions of moving parts in even a small phone display.

You think LCD bad pixels suck? Wait until your screen starts to wear out like flash memory.

Re:Soon (1)

fyngyrz (762201) | more than 2 years ago | (#38070518)

Mechanical parts that are very small tend to be very robust. Look at the moving mirror technology in projectors (it's called DLP); those things seem to last forever, I've not heard about any of them losing pixels -- I've got a 1080p Optoma with about 9000 hours of lamp time, and the display looks as good as it did on day one when you slap a fresh bulb in it (the bulbs dim over time... but that doesn't mean the mirrors are implicated at all in the gradual reduction of quality.)

Also, the arrays in the tech we're talking about here have basically binary states; on or off. They develop brightness by more or less cells reflecting at once, not by incremental positioning.

I'm inclined to think it'll work out ok.

Yay (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38068250)

This is great! I keep a Sony Reader, since it accepts SD cards, loaded with survival manuals, medical books, car/motorcycle repair manuals, only problem is most of the files are in PDF format, which the device isn't too great at displaying. Combine this screen in a device with large storage and battery, solar charging option and I'm all set Unless Ron Paul continues his trend, he's in second in Iowa, then I'll have no need for such a thing.

Re:Yay (4, Funny)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 2 years ago | (#38068324)

This is great! I keep a Sony Reader, since it accepts SD cards, loaded with survival manuals, medical books, car/motorcycle repair manuals, only problem is most of the files are in PDF format, which the device isn't too great at displaying. Combine this screen in a device with large storage and battery, solar charging option and I'm all set Unless Ron Paul continues his trend, he's in second in Iowa, then I'll have no need for such a thing.

Oh wow. A techno survivalist nutjob. Here on Slashdot.

Sorry guy, the Aliens have already contacted the Illuminati. NO digital devices will be allowed to the masses. Not even Ron Paul can save us now.

We're doomed.

Re:Yay (1)

omfgnosis (963606) | more than 2 years ago | (#38070648)

At worst, the AC is harmless. More than likely, they are also a handy person to have around in a bind. But keep mocking people for Slashdot funny points, it makes you look so cool.

Re:Yay (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38069058)

Bah. Keep in mind that every ounce you waste on your tech gadgets is one less round for your gun. And the guy who didn't skim rounds on his gun will eventually come by and take your Sony Reader from your cold, dead hands.

Re:Yay (1)

omfgnosis (963606) | more than 2 years ago | (#38070666)

I'd be a lot more inclined to take Ron Paul and his advocates seriously if the advocates were a lot more realistic about both his potential and his intentions. In the best case scenario, he would be extremely limited in terms of implementing the positive changes he's proposed, and he would also be forced to clarify vaguely positive-sounding ideas into coherent policy that would be, well, problematical.

That's putting aside serious inconsistencies and problems in his platform and political approach.

First World (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38068308)

The troubles of first world countries; where changing everything is equivalent to lowering your electricity bill.

Re:First World (1)

nomel (244635) | more than 2 years ago | (#38068402)

Context is appropriate of course. They're talking about displays here, so the "changes everything" probably, just maybe, is more about "changes everything in display technology"...which it will.

Backlight (3, Insightful)

alendit (1454311) | more than 2 years ago | (#38068316)

Am I the only one who wants backlight in his tablet? E-Ink is all nice and good, but its stupid to have to turn the lights on to read from an electronic device...

Re:Backlight (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38068356)

Am I the only one who wants backlight in his tablet?

Yes.

Re:Backlight (1)

fyngyrz (762201) | more than 2 years ago | (#38070526)

no.

Re:Backlight (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38071188)

Yes he is.

Re:Backlight (2)

Greystripe (1985692) | more than 2 years ago | (#38068418)

Actually how hard would it be to have either a backlight that could be turned on/off at whim or a small glow bar that swung out from the face a short distance to provide illumination as needed?

Re:Backlight (4, Informative)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 2 years ago | (#38069064)

You cannot have a backlight with eInk, because it is not transparent. Not sure about Mirasol.

A compact retractable LED light is certainly possible, and, indeed, precisely what Amazon did with their Kindle cover.

Re:Backlight (1)

BlueCoder (223005) | more than 2 years ago | (#38070898)

I can imagine combining it with transparent LCD tech where an LCD puts out light in one direction but is transparent when the light shines back. Also such an overlay wouldn't require any resolution.

Re:Backlight (2)

amRadioHed (463061) | more than 2 years ago | (#38071318)

Would someone RTFA? The displays have LCDs on the side which provide light for viewing when there is not enough ambient light.

Re:Backlight (3, Informative)

idji (984038) | more than 2 years ago | (#38068538)

Wrong! You will need much less front light than back light to see things. You need back light ALL THE TIME. You only need front light WHEN IT IS DARK. These devices will probably have away to produce some "side light" so you can read in the dark

Re:Backlight (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38068560)

Page two of the article states:
"In dark conditions, light is directed onto the panel's modulators from LED lights at the edge of the panel."

Re:Backlight (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 2 years ago | (#38069084)

I hope it doesn't suck as much as it did in Sony Reader [gawkerassets.com] way back - with very uneven light distribution across the screen.

Re:Backlight (1)

alendit (1454311) | more than 2 years ago | (#38071036)

Thanks, overlooked it. If its done right, I may be the optimal solution.

Re:Backlight (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38068600)

RTFA. They will have LEDs at the edges of the screen, providing backlight in dark conditions. In bright/outdoor conditions, these LEDs can be switched off and power is saved.

Re:Backlight (5, Insightful)

mark-t (151149) | more than 2 years ago | (#38068682)

Is it stupid to have to turn a light on to see at all?

You'd normally need a light to read a real book anyways, how is needing a light to read something on a different surface any different?

Maybe you like having tons of photons projected directly into your eyes, when your pupils are mostly dilated to accommodate reflect the total amount of light visible to you (which actually doesn't tend to average to much if the room is otherwise too dark to be able to read anything that isn't actually glowing, so your pupils are generally more dilated than they might need to be), but not everybody likes trying to read while staring into a flashlight.

Re:Backlight (1)

adolf (21054) | more than 2 years ago | (#38069010)

so your pupils are generally more dilated than they might need to be), but not everybody likes trying to read while staring into a flashlight.

I think this is why the brightness of such displays is generally adjustable.

Re:Backlight (1)

mark-t (151149) | more than 2 years ago | (#38069262)

Yes, of course... but to typically get it at a level that is suitable, you end up reducing contrast to below the level it would have otherwise appeared on a normal printed page, and given that the visual center of our brains depends heavily on contrast to identify shapes, one might as well just be trying to read a normal book in low light. While not actually being bad for your eyes directly, it's a pretty fast way to get a migraine.

Re:Backlight (1)

adolf (21054) | more than 2 years ago | (#38070500)

I often prefer reading things with low contrast and low luminosity, particularly at night, and especially when excess ambient light might bother other people around me.

Furthermore, even in today's civilized world, I don't always have control over the lighting of my immediate surroundings. Sometimes it is simply too dark to read, and I want to read anyway.

I also don't get migraines, which I believe is a (non-)trait that I share with most other people.

Please stop assuming that your own personal problems and preferences are universal amongst others. No amount of pseudo-science or personal anecdote is going to persuade me to believe that having a device with an electronic display that can self-illuminate is worse than having one that cannot.

Re:Backlight (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38069306)

Except the lowest setting is still too bright.

Re:Backlight (1)

alendit (1454311) | more than 2 years ago | (#38071048)

Not sure what are you talking about. Maybe your tablet (or mobile) can't adjust the brightness right? On Nokia N800, for example, you can scale the backlight down pretty good and it is perfekt for using it in "absolute" darkness.

You NEED photons projected directly into your pupils to see, reflected or otherwise doesn't make a big difference (yeah, reflected light is polarised, not that you could see it with a naked eye). It is a matter of light intensity and it is not that hard to adjust.

Next year? Yeah right. (4, Interesting)

artor3 (1344997) | more than 2 years ago | (#38068394)

They're just now building the factory, and you expect the product to be in devices next year? That would be the smoothest production bring-up in history. Maybe in 2013.

Re:Next year? Yeah right. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38068962)

Or maybe they will retro-fit a current factory with sup-prime equipment while they build a new factory with the proper equipment for a higher output for future orders?

Re:Next year? Yeah right. (1)

caladine (1290184) | more than 2 years ago | (#38070358)

They actually announced the factory back in January. One would assume construction started around then, allowing them to meet a 2012 production deadline.
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-01-03/qualcomm-to-invest-about-1-billion-in-taiwan-display-plant-ministry-says.html [bloomberg.com]

MEMS display (2)

Smallpond (221300) | more than 2 years ago | (#38068416)

The Mirasol display technology is pretty cool.
http://www.mirasoldisplays.com/mobile-display-imod-technology [mirasoldisplays.com]

Re:MEMS display (1)

Tacvek (948259) | more than 2 years ago | (#38069756)

Based on that video, it appears that the display is a 3 bit display, relying on the miniscule sizes and dithering to create intermediate tones. If the interface treats a hundred or so elements as one logical pixel that may work fine. Otherwise... well lets just say as a developer it suck to have to either predither for display, or to accept that different colors have different minimum widths necessary to display correctly.

Re:MEMS display (3, Informative)

fyngyrz (762201) | more than 2 years ago | (#38070574)

Not dithering -- just cumulative addition. The more reflecting elements there are, the more color you get. So each pixel is a series of imod elements, arrays of R, G and B. Black is all off; dark color is just a few on... medium color is half of 'em on... bright color is all of 'em on.

Disruptive (1, Interesting)

Sponge Bath (413667) | more than 2 years ago | (#38068436)

Apple is working on a high resolution (2048x1536) tablet display. I would guess they are aware of this technology. The article indicates yields are a problem so a 2048x1536 display is probably a ways away. Which will be more disruptive to the market, the leap in resolution or battery life?

Re:Disruptive (5, Insightful)

tycoex (1832784) | more than 2 years ago | (#38068606)

Considering the vast majority of people are perfectly happy with 1920x1080 on a 50" screen, I doubt people will really care much if their 10" screen is any higher than that.

The BIGGEST complaint/problem with smartphones today is the lower battery life. If I could choose between doubling the resolution on my phone and doubling the battery life, I would choose the battery life in a heartbeat.

Re:Disruptive (5, Informative)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 2 years ago | (#38069098)

The reason why Apple needs 2048x1536, and not, say, 1980x1200, is because with the latter they cannot easily scale up existing apps with a simple 2x factor.

(flexible layouts? what's that?)

Re:Disruptive (1)

Sponge Bath (413667) | more than 2 years ago | (#38069440)

Ah, another victim of mod abuse by people who don't understand the purpose of forums. I feel your pain.

Re:Disruptive (1)

mug funky (910186) | more than 2 years ago | (#38070390)

xrandr --output LVDS1 --scale 2x2

Re:Disruptive (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 2 years ago | (#38071236)

Not sure what you're trying to say. The point was that iPad currently has a resolution of 1024x768, and apps written for it use that to lay out their UI properly. If some future version of iPad has a different resolution, they'll need to do something to adapt existing apps that are not updated to be aware of it - the easiest is to just upscale them by two, as they did with iPhone: 320x480 -> 960x480. So, for iPad, they'll need 2048x1536. Upscaling by a fractional amount, like 1.5, would distort any bitmaps the app could be using.

Re:Disruptive (2)

shish (588640) | more than 2 years ago | (#38069336)

Battery life is good for mobile devices; but Apple pushing for retina displays in all circumstances means that we can avoid situations like this [xkcd.com] on all devices. Combine both of these with thin + flexible display research, and in maybe as little as 5 years time we will have invented something that can compete with paper \o/

Re:Disruptive (1)

fyngyrz (762201) | more than 2 years ago | (#38070594)

Paper?

What is this... paper... you speak of?

Re:Disruptive (1)

Sponge Bath (413667) | more than 2 years ago | (#38069392)

Seriously? Modded down twice for a reasonable, on topic post? The mods tonight are afraid of discussion, or maybe Qualcomm employees.

Simply not enough screen real-estate, I'm afraid. (4, Interesting)

mark-t (151149) | more than 2 years ago | (#38068578)

Make it large enough to handle textbook content presented at a readable size (typically letter-sized pages), and I'd be all over it, as long as it allowed me to upload my own pdf's to it, and, perhaps no less important, as long as it wasn't priced ridiculously high. And yeah, I know there's some e-ink readers oout there with displays nearly that big, but the current state of affairs with eink displays totally blows. Page refreshes are so slow that I'd rather carry 20 lbs worth of textbooks than try to use an eink reader for anything other than the reading of fiction.

A 14" screen would be ideal... although with a respectable resolution, a 10-11" one might also be able to suffice.

Re:Simply not enough screen real-estate, I'm afrai (1)

rjstanford (69735) | more than 2 years ago | (#38069508)

Make it large enough to handle textbook content presented at a readable size (typically letter-sized pages), and I'd be all over it, as long as it allowed me to upload my own pdf's to it, and, perhaps no less important, as long as it wasn't priced ridiculously high. And yeah, I know there's some e-ink readers oout there with displays nearly that big, but the current state of affairs with eink displays totally blows. Page refreshes are so slow that I'd rather carry 20 lbs worth of textbooks than try to use an eink reader for anything other than the reading of fiction.

Actually, full letter size is generally far too large. Take a standrd hardback book, then pare down the margin space you no longer need (and which is to be replaced by screen bezel, not empty pixels), and you've got a very well established field-tested form factor to work with.

Re:Simply not enough screen real-estate, I'm afrai (2)

fyngyrz (762201) | more than 2 years ago | (#38070624)

Better yet, get rid of the screen bezel and build a collapsible handle system into the back, so your hand can be behind it, yet still hold it securely. The bezel on my iPad strikes me as a complete waste of space. I might feel better about it if there had been a camera in my gen 1, but there isn't... the bezel just makes the thing so big I can quite get my hand around it without an uncomfortable stretch. We'll have a Kindle Fire in the house tomorrow, looking forward to reading on something that actually fits in my hand.

Can't wait! (5, Informative)

engun (1234934) | more than 2 years ago | (#38068654)

I can't wait for this tech to get into tablets. Just a few of the advantages I'm expecting (and here's hoping there will be no disappointments)

1. I stare at an LCD screen all day, and I really detest the backlight. This is what prevents me from reading on a "tablet". Mirasol will fix that.
2. The Kindle's e-ink display, even though it didn't have colour, was simply amazing. However, the slow refresh rates combined with the lack of colour, made it too special purpose. Mirasol fixes all that, allowing for a general purpose tablet + e-reader and I can't imagine why that wouldn't succeed.
3. The paper like effect (which I assume Mirasol will have), will be so much easier on the eyes - meaning less eye strain. Given a choice between ruining my eye sight and enduring bad colour, I'll choose bad colour anytime.
4. We can go back to the look & feel of paper without the associated wastage (trees cut down etc. etc). One "electronic book" to substitute them all.
5. A battery life comparable in the kindle range instead of the lcd range would be an added bonus, but not a deal breaker.
6. Resolution however is important. I assume that high res screens will be available.
7. Some form of built-in illumination in the absence of ambient light.

Re:Can't wait! (3, Informative)

macshit (157376) | more than 2 years ago | (#38069248)

I can't wait for this tech to get into tablets. Just a few of the advantages I'm expecting (and here's hoping there will be no disappointments)
...
3. The paper like effect (which I assume Mirasol will have), will be so much easier on the eyes - meaning less eye strain. Given a choice between ruining my eye sight and enduring bad colour, I'll choose bad colour anytime.
4. We can go back to the look & feel of paper without the associated wastage (trees cut down etc. etc). One "electronic book" to substitute them all.

I dunno, it's not so clear it will be "paper-like"...

e-paper uses a real matte reflective surface, like paper, but this mirasol stuff seems to be based on thin-film mirrors—i.e., not matte. Maybe they can do something with a diffusing layer over that, but who knows how much that will look like a real matte surface; it could look more like a material with significant sub-surface scatting, like wax...

The other thing of course, is that because mirasol uses separate wave-length-specific sub-pixels for red, green, and blue, the amount of light reflected is going to be cut down accordingly, as each sub-pixel will be absorbing many wavelengths even when in its "reflecting" state. So it may very well be kind of dim. [On an LCD, they can compensate for that by simply cranking up the backlight sufficiently to make up for any losses, but mirasol is supposed to work in ambient light...]

Re:Can't wait! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38069592)

Backlighting doesn't ruin your eyesight, keeping your eyes focused on one point for lengthy periods of time does. It doesn't matter if you're watching TV, using your computer, using your phone or reading a book. If you don't take breaks and refocus your eyes periodically, the effect is the same.

E-ink like power consumption? (2)

tylerni7 (944579) | more than 2 years ago | (#38068920)

What does the article mean by e-ink like power consumption? I can't tell if this technology requires power to remain in a given state, or whether it can be static like e-ink. Although the low power consumption of e-ink displays is largely due to their lack of a backlight, being able to display static content with 0 power consumption is really one of the coolest parts about e-ink tech.

I read the article but it didn't seem to answer this, do any readers know? If it could display static content for free then that would be incredibly awesome.

Re:E-ink like power consumption? (5, Informative)

Jamie Lokier (104820) | more than 2 years ago | (#38069288)

This page explains near the end: http://www.mirasoldisplays.com/mobile-display-imod-technology [mirasoldisplays.com]
It's bistable, so it retains memory of the image without needing power (or only a little power), which is similar to e-ink.
But it switches much faster than e-ink, so it can do video, presumably consuming power for the regions which change.

Re:E-ink like power consumption? (1)

tylerni7 (944579) | more than 2 years ago | (#38069388)

Awesome, thanks! I just looked a bit on their website and didn't see that page where they say it's bistable. That definitely makes it harder for e-ink to compare with this.

Image quality issues (1)

Michael Woodhams (112247) | more than 2 years ago | (#38070170)

As described, I'd expect poor image quality for three independent reasons.

First, the cavities have just two reflecting surfaces. The interference design may work wonders on butterfly wings, but they have many reflective layers, not just two. With just two, the wavelength specificity of the reflected light will be poor: you won't be able to make a bright green spot, merely a greenish spot.

Second, each subpixel can reflect only a particular colour (presumably they'll go for red, green and blue subpixels.) So if for a pixel all the subpixels are turned on, than means that 1/3 of the red light falling on the pixel will be reflected (i.e. from the red subpixel), 1/3 of the green light, and 1/3 of the blue light. This means that if we try to set the pixel as bright as possible (all subpixels on) we'll still only get a medium grey, not white.

Third, each subpixel is either on or off, so each pixel can only display 8 colours. To get better colour reproduction will require dithering, which requires very many very small pixels to not visibly affect image quality.

So, from the description I'm expecting a greyish display with washed out dithered colours. The tiny photo they include in the article shows considerably better quality than I'm expecting. (I really want to see a close up, high quality photo of the display showing a challenging image.) Are there reasons why my objections above are not valid?

Re:Image quality issues (1)

Brian Feldman (350) | more than 2 years ago | (#38070492)

Second, each subpixel can reflect only a particular colour (presumably they'll go for red, green and blue subpixels.) So if for a pixel all the subpixels are turned on, than means that 1/3 of the red light falling on the pixel will be reflected (i.e. from the red subpixel), 1/3 of the green light, and 1/3 of the blue light. This means that if we try to set the pixel as bright as possible (all subpixels on) we'll still only get a medium grey, not white.

Why would you presume that over CMYK? You seem to generally be giving the impression that you think this is a display that "lights up", rather than occludes.

Re:Image quality issues (1)

Michael Woodhams (112247) | more than 2 years ago | (#38070568)

You might be right, but I'm not sure. This isn't like ink, where you can put two inks on the same place and have each subtract different colours. However, the point I'm trying to make works equally well if it is a CMY(K) colour scheme. The colour response will not be highly specific, so you won't be able to display pure colours.

Re:Image quality issues (4, Interesting)

fyngyrz (762201) | more than 2 years ago | (#38070680)

With just two, the wavelength specificity of the reflected light will be poor: you won't be able to make a bright green spot, merely a greenish spot.

No. The resonance (physical size) of the cavity controls the color; it doesn't depend upon how many layers are in there.

This means that if we try to set the pixel as bright as possible (all subpixels on) we'll still only get a medium grey, not white.

Yes and no (mostly no.) Look at your LCD screen. See that bright, burn-your-eyes out white capability? That comes from r,g and b spots. Meaning, each spot is only emitting 1/3 of the light that it takes to be white, or, in your concept, you're only seeing 1/3 as "white" as you could be (well, not exactly, since our eyes are nonlinear between red, green and blue, but anyway...) Still makes for a nice white. Bottom line: You don't have to reflect every photon to make a decent white. And in fact, paper reflects a lot of them at angles that don't hit your eyes, so you're not getting them all there, either. The "brightness" of the white here will depend on how wide the reflected photons spread on the way back out of the cells. Or to look at it another way, if the light reflection angle is 1/3 of the light capture angle, it'll seem perfectly white to you. The RGB nature of them isn't really the limiting factor.

each subpixel is either on or off, so each pixel can only display 8 colours.

No. Each pixel holds many elements. So the color of the pixel doesn't depend upon its neighbors.

Loony Tunes Technology (4, Funny)

boristdog (133725) | more than 2 years ago | (#38070252)

This technology uses "interferometric modulators", which I cannot hear in anything but Marvin the Martian's voice.

Re:Loony Tunes Technology (1)

fyngyrz (762201) | more than 2 years ago | (#38070692)

[moves arms in circle from over head down to sides, with accompanying Ack-ack-aaack-ack-aaack!]

[Shoots Dove of Peace]

What would it cost us ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38070386)

Any idea how much would the displays cost us ? GE some time back invented methods to manufacture OLED in a cheaper way http://www.eetimes.com/electronics-news/4214335/Solid-state-lighting-coming-into-focus-semiconductor?pageNumber=2 but we don't see the LED screens costs to be down. Looks like technology advancement and product pricing are not directly proportional ;-)

Maybe also sarefice resolution for color depth (2)

BlueCoder (223005) | more than 2 years ago | (#38070852)

It's made of tiny monochromatic mirrors that reflect or black out specific colors. It's relies on the number of mirrors per pixel sub-color to determine color intensity. While I suspect they are grouping the sub-colors per pixel right next to each other if they didn't... if every sub-pixel on this display was more or less a group of RGB each... (not likely since humans are more sensitive to certain colors) then the display would be capable or variable resolution. More resolution the closer you get to the pure RGB colors or black and white. So text on the screen can potentially be at a higher resolution while colors pictures appear at lower resolutions. This is such an advantage I suspect the research is focused on interleaved color manufacturing. While the colors on the screen won't be perfect RGB they will be a balanced matrix of colors. Addressing is the only technical challenge which would mean three different color address buses for three different screen colors. One color, I think blue being a reduced resolution for a smaller palette. That's a lot info to be transmitted but fortunately the display is it's own memory.

So to sum it up pictures at normal resolution, black/white text at 1000 times the resolution and nominal color text at 100 times the resolution.

I want one....

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?