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Qualcomm Demos 5.1-inch Screen with 577 PPI Resolution

By - Source: Engadget | B 11 comments

This display is based on Qualcomm's mirasol reflective tech.

Engadget reports that during SID Display Week, Qualcomm is showcasing a 5.1-inch display based on the company's "mirasol" reflective tech, sporting an insane 2560 x 1440 resolution, or 577 ppi. When viewed up close, it delivers super-crisp images, but the reflective tech reportedly kicks back a silvery tint so the colors aren't quite as vivid as they would be on other handsets.

The report also states that the screen offers a 6x power advantage over LCD and OLED displays, thus a smartphone could go days without the need to recharge the battery. Unfortunately, this "next-gen" screen will likely remain in the R&D phase for the next several years before its ready to be licensed out to ODMs.

Mirasol is the trademarked name for Qualcomm's interferometric modulator display (IMOD) tech which creates various colors using reflective light. Color is selected with an electrically switched light modulator comprising a microscopic cavity that is switched on and off using driver integrated circuits. Thus, a reflective flat panel display based on Qualcomm's tech includes "hundreds of thousands" of individual IMOD elements, each a MEMS-based device.

"Oil on water produces a rainbow effect. You’ve seen it in soap bubbles and in nature — in the iridescent colors reflected off the feathers of a peacock or butterfly," Qualcomm explains. "Each of these examples is the result of an optical resonant cavity (a pocket of air inside the reflective material, be it soap, oil or scales of a feather). And it’s inside that air pocket where the magic happens. That’s where the light is harnessed and the interference occurs, creating either a rainbow effect, or a single color."

Mirasol technology does essentially the same thing, Qualcomm claims, except the company uses microscopic machines (MEMS) to actually manipulate the size of the air gap, to create a color display.

Other examples of the tech showcased during the SID Display Week show includes a 1.5 inch panel embedded on the top of an "always on" smartphone, and on the face of a smartwatch. A rep said these devices were just mockups, but the screen will actually appear in third-party devices soon.

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  • 0 Hide
    ipwn3r456 , May 22, 2013 6:58 PM
    Mobile display technology is just growing too fast these days. Probably we can even reach 4k resolution for phones within several years.
  • 0 Hide
    livebriand , May 22, 2013 7:10 PM
    1080p on a 13" laptop just seems downright nasty in comparison. It's amazing how much the resolution on phones and tablets has been improving in the past few years while laptops and desktops have stayed mostly stagnant. Only now are a few models starting to break the 1080p barrier...
  • 0 Hide
    nevilence , May 22, 2013 7:18 PM
    surely there will be a point when extra resolution on a 5" screen wont be visually preceivable
  • 3 Hide
    razor512 , May 22, 2013 7:19 PM
    If they can do this with mobile displays, why cant they just release some 8K or 16K tv's and computer monitors.
  • 0 Hide
    nieur , May 22, 2013 7:29 PM
    right now there is no point in increasing display resolution at the cost of image quality
  • 5 Hide
    svillav , May 22, 2013 9:34 PM
    If I understand this correctly this display works with reflective light, so it will be highly visible at full sunlight. This will be wonderful even if color accuracy isn't the best. Try reading an LCD screen in the beach at full sunlight............
  • 0 Hide
    martel80 , May 22, 2013 11:25 PM
    This reminds me of loudspeakers/headphones boasting that they can reproduce frequencies up to 30kHz, 50kHz and so on... Totally useless when a human ear can only hear up to 20kHz at best.
    What's the point of rendering details which human eye cannot see?
  • -2 Hide
    alidan , May 23, 2013 1:13 AM
    Quote:
    surely there will be a point when extra resolution on a 5" screen wont be visually preceivable


    it wont, more or less. but think of this in terms of occulas rift that magnifies images on smaller screans

    Quote:
    If they can do this with mobile displays, why cant they just release some 8K or 16K tv's and computer monitors.


    because in a tv they would be absolutely useless
    and on a computer you would need 100-200 inch monitors to even make those resolutions usefull for work space, unless you want to just have a really high resolution monitor at 20-30 inches that just has the ui in higher detail which is absolutely stupid.

    even 4k on a pc monitor would require a 40-50 inch monitor to make that resolution usefull.

    Quote:
    right now there is no point in increasing display resolution at the cost of image quality

    i say this all the time, i would rather have true black levels opposed to a stupidly high resolution.
  • 0 Hide
    darkchazz , May 23, 2013 1:25 AM
    I think the mobile display resolution war should just stop. 1080p is already too high and the current mobile GPUs can barely handle it...
  • 0 Hide
    hannibal , May 23, 2013 3:09 AM
    Quote:
    1080p on a 13" laptop just seems downright nasty in comparison. It's amazing how much the resolution on phones and tablets has been improving in the past few years while laptops and desktops have stayed mostly stagnant. Only now are a few models starting to break the 1080p barrier...


    Not talking about 27" desktop monitors still in 1080p...

    Quote:
    I'd gladly take a 6x power-efficient screen over current technology

    Yep, that is the big deal in here! Very good for mobile phones and other portable devices!
  • 0 Hide
    teh_chem , May 23, 2013 6:22 AM
    I couldn't care less about higher res phones, but the technology behind this is very exciting. I'd have to see the display, but if the silvery effect isn't horribly distracting, I'd gladly take a 6x power-efficient screen over current technology.