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.