Follow-up: Qualcomm added a superior to its mirasol, but also MEMS display technology for its upcoming US$1B fab [Jan 26, 2012]
Updates as of July’12: QUALCOMM Incorporated Management Discusses Q3 2012 Results – Earnings Call Transcript [Seeking Alpha, July 18, 2012]
Paul E. Jacobs – Chairman and Chief Executive Officer:
With respect to QMT, we’re now focusing on licensing our next-generation mirasol display technology and will directly commercialize only certain mirasol products. We believe that this strategy will better align our updated roadmap with the addressable opportunities.
I just wanted to say also we’re obviously investing a lot in QMT. We’re looking at the opportunities to — on that business model to reduce some of the expenses that we have there. And so that could have a pretty significant impact as well [on OpEx].
Updated: Qualcomm: No Launch Date in Sight For New 4.3″ Screen (video), Factory Delayed Until 2013 [The Digital Reader, June 6, 2012]
Do you know that new factory which Qualcomm is building in Taiwan, the one which was going to produce Mirasol screens and was supposed to be up and running by now? Yeah, that one. I was told yesterday by Bruce Lidl [PR manager of QMT] that the factory is not due to start operation until sometime in 2013, and that means we won’t see consumer products using screens made there until late in 2013 at best.
Right now Qualcomm is making the Mirasol screens on a smaller production line, and from what I’ve heard it doesn’t have the capacity to make enough screens for a major partner. The last info I got from my source at Pocketbook, Qualcomm’s still unconfirmed European partner, was that Pocketbook’s Mirasol based device was on hold because they couldn’t get enough screens.
Kyobo Mirasol eReader Now on Clearance – 71% Off [The Digital Reader, July 6, 2012]
Kyobo Book Centre, South Korea’s leading bookseller, has recently put their Mirasol eReader on sale at a drastic discount. I’m still waiting for confirmation from Kyobo or Qualcomm, but it looks to me like this ereader is on the way out. That’s great; neither the software nor the screen techwere worth the original retail, which was more than $300 USD.
The price posted above is 99,000 won, or about $87 USD. That’s a considerable discount off the original 350,000 won, and it leaves little doubt that this ereader is headed for the scrapheap.
End of updates as of July’12
– Hanvon Reveals New E-reader Design for China Market Featuring Qualcomm’s mirasol Display Technology [Qualcomm press release, Jan 10, 2012]
World’s Thinnest and Lightest Color E-reader Unveiled at CES Opening Keynote
Qualcomm MEMS Technologies Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Qualcomm Incorporated (NASDAQ: QCOM), and Hanwang Technology Co., Ltd. (Hanvon), a leading provider of e-reader devices in China, today announced at the International Consumer Electronics Show the Hanvon C18, the thinnest and lightest e-reader to incorporate mirasol® display technology to date. The Hanvon-branded device, revealed by Qualcomm Chairman and CEO Dr. Paul Jacobs during his opening day CES keynote, delivers a premium reading experience, a touch display, vibrant color even in bright sunlight and weeks of reading under typical usage. *
Hanvon C18 Color E-reader featuring Qualcomm’s mirasol display. World’s thinnest and lightest color e-reader to be available in China market in early 2012
“Hanvon has chosen mirasol displays as the enabling technology that will best place the full color potential of their vast content library into the hands of their customers,” said Clarence Chui, senior vice president and general manager of Qualcomm MEMS Technologies, Inc. “This Hanvon e-reader validates customers’ evolving expectation of color as part of their e-reading experience and mirasol displays deliver an unparalleled experience.”
The Hanvon C18 e-reader includes access to tens of thousands of e-books, more than 100 Chinese newspapers and more than 300 magazines, 90 percent of which offer full-color digital editions. Hanvon’s continuing collaboration with more than 300 publishers ensures a deep and diverse stream of digital content for consumers. Additionally, the device features Hanvon’s patented handwriting recognition technology – Hanvon Input – to further enhance the user experience.
“Thinner and lighter than any color e-reader, the Hanvon C18 e-reader is a revolutionary product that Hanvon and Qualcomm are bringing to consumers,” said Mr. Liu Yingjian, president of Hanwang Technology Co., Ltd. “With the exceptional mirasol display technology, it will break new ground in the e-reader industry.”
The Hanvon C18 e-reader features a 5.7” XGA format (1024 x 768 pixels) mirasol display (screen resolution of 223 ppi) and Qualcomm’s 1.0 GHz Snapdragon™ S2 class processor. Hanvon’s custom application interface sits atop an Android 2.3 base.
* Battery life varies depending on usage and ambient light. Battery life based upon 30 minutes of daily reading time with Wi-Fi off and integrated reading light set to 22 percent utilization
– Kyobo 5.7″ eReader with Mirasol Display Walk Through by Qualcomm [Dec 14, 2011]
– Unsolved Mysteries of the Kyobo eReader (Not Really) [mirasol Displays blog, Dr. Clarence Chui, Senior Vice President of Qualcomm MEMS Technologies, Inc., Dec 20, 2011]
A few weeks ago, we proudly announced the world’s first color e-reader to feature mirasol® display technology – the KYOBO eReader. We believe this announcement is the first step in changing consumer’s expectations about what an e-reader is; delivering color and interactive content, while maintaining the outdoor visibility and weeks of battery life to which they’ve become accustomed.
Since the announcement, there has been some dialogue online and I’ve had a few questions about the device, the display and its capabilities. Let me take a moment to answer some of these questions.
The Kyobo eReader delivers up to three weeks of battery life, preserving an important attribute that identifies the e-reader category. Kyobo built this device to function as an e-reader and accordingly, applied the industry standard e-reader usage model (of course, those other e-readers feature black and white displays) of 30 min of use each day, WiFi Off, standby power the rest of the time – and in our case, 25% front light brightness – we’ll get to that next. These are Kyobo’s reported numbers.
Our mirasol® displays work by reflecting ambient light (see how it works), and for darker environments, an integrated reading light is used (we’ve blogged on this before), and in the case of the Kyobo eReader, is controlled by an ambient light sensor. Above, we discuss how there is an assumed 25% brightness in all usage. Try not to think about this as an LCD, where “brightness” equates to the amount of light coming out of the display. Instead, this is the additional light the reading light adds to supplement the existing reflected light. My point is that the display offers visibility in both bright and dark conditions while preserving the battery life consumers expect of an e-reader.
Commercialization, Product Availability and the Korean Market:
First, as to when the product is available, it’s available now and has been on sale in Kyobo’s flagship store in Seoul since it was announced. We have made good on our promise to commercialize mirasol displays in 2011.
I want to also take a moment to talk about why Kyobo is our first customer out the door. Kyobo’s product development focused on finding a tool to enable digital education and meet the Korean consumer’s expectations for an e-reader, something black and white e-readers have not done in Kyobo’s past experience. This focus and execution on mirasol display’s precise value proposition is why Kyobo is right customer and Korea the right market to enter first. Additionally, it’s worth noting that while our current fabrication facility is capable of supporting customers of modest volume requirements, we expect higher volume customers to come into focus once our next, higher volume facility comes online later in 2012. So in the short term, we will keep focused on mostly international markets.
More information: http://www.facebook.com/mirasoldisplays?sk=wall
End of updates
Kyobo Book Center Ereader [Nov 22, 2011]
KYOBO eReader – mirasol [Nov 22, 2011]
SEOUL, South Korea and SAN DIEGO
Qualcomm MEMS Technologies, Inc. (QMT) a wholly owned subsidiary of Qualcomm Incorporated (NASDAQ: QCOM), and Kyobo Book Centre, Korea’s largest seller of books, today announced the retail availability of the world’s first e-reader to include mirasol® display technology. Kyobo and Qualcomm have collaborated to deliver an unmatched reading experience by providing a large and diverse content portfolio spanning books, magazines and video on a touch display that features vibrant color in bright sunlight. The device allow for weeks of reading under typical usage.*
“Kyobo is a recognized content leader focused on bringing unique and innovative experiences to its customers,” said Clarence Chui, senior vice president and general manager of Qualcomm MEMS Technologies, Inc. “Kyobo’s customers will be the first to enjoy the exceptional color e-reader experience and long battery life that only mirasol displays can provide.”
The Kyobo e-Reader includes access to Kyobo’s 90,000 ebook library, notably including early rights from Korean publisher Minumsa for the much-anticipated Steve Jobs’ exclusive biography, a full one-month before any other Korean digital outlet. Additionally, the device features: video lecture content exclusive to EBS, a leading Korea-based provider of educational material; content sharing through Korean social networking services; English language text-to-speech capabilities; and searchable content through the popular Diotek dictionary application.
“The Kyobo e-Reader brings the user a true book reading experience,” said Mr. Seong-Ryong Kim, chief executive officer of Kyobo Book Centre. “With our diverse content and leading edge technology from Qualcomm, Kyobo Book Centre will provide a premium reading experience to our customers.”
The Kyobo e-Reader features a 5.7” XGA format (1024 x 768 pixels) mirasol display (screen resolution of 223 ppi) and Qualcomm’s 1.0 GHz Snapdragon™ S2 class processor. Kyobo’s custom application interface sits atop an Android 2.3 base.
Kyobo’s e-Reader is now available for purchase at the full retail price of KRW349,000 (US$310). Kyobo Platinum Book Club members can purchase the e-reader at a discounted price of KRW 299,000 (US$265). Kyobo’s e-readers are available at bookstore locations across South Korea, including Kyobo’s flagship Gwanghwamun-jum location in Seoul.
* Battery life varies depending on usage and ambient light. Battery life based upon 30 minutes of daily reading time with Wi-Fi off and front light set to 25 percent utilization [?setting the backlight to 25 percent brightness?].
About Kyobo Book Centre
Kyobo Book Centre has contributed to preserving Korean culture and improving knowledge and education in Korea through its distribution of high quality books and services throughout all of Kyobo Book Centres. Beginning with the Gwanghwa-Moon branch in 1980, Kyobo Book Centre has been Korea’s leading bookstore and an icon of knowledge and education throughout the country with multiple branches and an online presence. Kyobo Book Centre aims to conserve culture, expand knowledge and create a better world for all of humanity.
About Qualcomm MEMS Technologies, Inc.
Qualcomm MEMS Technologies, Inc. has drawn on the same color-producing process that makes a butterfly’s wings shimmer to develop the revolutionary mirasol display technology. The mirasol display is the industry’s first to use interferometric modulation (IMOD); a micro-electro-mechanical systems-based technology capable of creating color from ambient reflected light. Qualcomm’s mirasol displays are bi-stable, energy efficient, offer refresh rates to support interactive content and are highly reflective, allowing for superb viewing quality in a wide range of environmental conditions, including bright sunlight. With applications in a variety of mobile devices, mirasol displays support Qualcomm’s overall strategy of mobile innovation by enabling a compelling viewing experience with significantly less power. For more information, visit the mirasol displays website, our Blog or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.
Qualcomm Incorporated (NASDAQ: QCOM) is the world leader in 3G and next-generation mobile technologies. For more than 25 years, Qualcomm ideas and inventions have driven the evolution of digital communications, linking people everywhere more closely to information, entertainment and each other. For more information, visit Qualcomm’s website, OnQ blog, Twitter and Facebook pages.
Interferometric modulator display – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Chipmaker partners Kyobo in e-book reader, talks with Samsung, SKT [The Korea Times, Nov 22, 2011]
Qualcomm is eager to spread its business tentacles in Korea. Its involvement in developing an e-book reader tailored for Korean customers is just a dot in the bigger picture pursued by the San Diego-based chip giant, according to its CEO.
Paul Jacobs, the charismatic Qualcomm chairman, was in Seoul Tuesday to unveil a new digital reader it developed with Kyobo Book Center, the country’s largest book retailer.
The device is the first in the world to include Qualcomm’s Mirasol technology, which is designed to feature vibrant colors in sunlight, thus eliminating a key flaw that has plagued conventional e-book readers.
Jacobs, who also gave the green light to a plan last year to establish a Korea-based research and development center, said the company continues to seek business opportunities with partners here, although declined to comment specifically on the details or cost of projects currently in the pipeline.
Meeting with Korea Communications Commission (KCC) Chairman Choi See-joong earlier in the day, Jacobs expressed intentions to hire more Korean research personnel for developing telecommunications technologies.
He also met with executives from local technology giants Samsung Electronics and LG Electronics and mobile phone operators SK Telecom and KT to discuss mutual business interests.
Jacobs’ visit to Korea comes amid speculation that Samsung, currently the world’s top seller of smartphones, is considering using non-Qualcomm chips in its upcoming smartphones and touch screen tablets to diversify its parts sources.
“Jacobs clearly wants to reaffirm Samsung’s support of its chips and may offer better pricing for handset vendors, which also overlaps with the business interest of wireless carriers,’’ said a Samsung executive, who asked not to be named.
Qualcomm’s technologies and chips remain vital for devices that run on third generation (3G) and fourth generation (4G) networks.
Samsung and LG are shifting their focus from 3G-based devices to products that run on 4G Long Term Evolution (LTE) networks, which enable faster data movement.
“Jacobs checked out the development phases of tablets and smartphones that use its Snapdragon mobile processors and asked the Koreans for further cooperation,’’ said an SK Telecom official.
Aside of the Mirasol display, Kyobo’s new book reader packs the most advanced technologies Qualcomm currently offer, including its 1-gigahertz Snapdragon processor.
Qualcomm could only hope that its new e-book reader would yield better results than its first Samsung-made entry in the Korean market, which tanked.
“This time will be different because Kyobo will fully manage manufacturing, sales and after-sales (AS) policies,’’ said a spokeswoman from Kyobo.
Qualcomm has been eager to find its next cash-generating sources. Under the basis, it’s been investing heavily for panels. The San Diego-based firm invested more than $1 billion in its latest plant to produce the Mirasol screens.
Jacobs said he is set for operating losses from its Mirasol business because Qualcomm is targeting to put Mirasol on a wider range of electronics in the future, tapping e-readers as it first commercial target.
Qualcomm begins global e-book launch in Korea [The Korea Herald, Nov 22, 2011]
Qualcomm Inc., the world’s largest mobile chip maker, and Korea’s biggest book store Kyobo announced the global launch of an e-book reader based on the Mirasol display technology in Seoul on Tuesday.
Qualcomm said it was the beginning of its global launch of e-book readersas it soon plans to dive into other overseas markets.
“This is the global launch starting with Korea,” Clarence Chui, senior vice president and general manager of Qualcomm MEMS Technologies, told The Korea Herald. “We will be rolling it out in other regions for other customers.”
Chui said he could not comment on the company’s next plan, however, he elaborated that the joint effort conducted with Kyobo was “very aligned with what we’re trying to do.”
The device, dubbed “Kyobo eReader,” will be equipped with a 5.7-inch Mirasol display and Qualcomm’s Snapdragon processor and will cost 349,000 won ($310). Released for the first time on Tuesday, about 93,000 different e-books, including the biography of Steve Jobs written by Walter Isaacson, are currently available for download. It will be sold at online and offline Kyobo stores, and the number of books available will be increased to 100,000 by year end, said a Kyobo official.
“I think everyone knows Korea has a very special place in the history of the company, so we’re here to launch a new product, a new technology and in conjunction with Kyobo, a new vision on how children will be educated and interact with books,” said Qualcomm’s chairman and chief executive Paul Jacobs.
“The device is the first one that has low power, sunlight visibility and also provides color and video ratecapability.”
The new Mirasol display technology, pointed out Jacobs, has enabled Qualcomm to garner a bigger share in the electronics display market. The gadget can go for weeks without additional battery charging and is also capable of video rate response times, according to Qualcomm officials.
“Mirasol is a very flexible technology. We chose to focus on this size because we think it’s a very good match with Kyobo’s vision,” Chui said during a press conference in Seoul.
He also said that the firm will unveil gadgets with different display sizes together with Kyobo and other partnersif it is necessary.
Qualcomm, a company that earns most of its sales revenue from mobile phone processors and radio chips, is moving to expand into displays with its Mirasol technology which it claims extends battery life in handheld devices. The San Diego-based firm is reportedly investing over $1 billion in a new plant to produce the display screens.
The company does have plans to expand the Mirasol display into a wider pool of gadgets, but it has said it works best with e-readers at the moment.
According to the Korea Creative Content Agency, the global e-book industry is projected to grow an average of 27.2 percent by 2014, while the paper book market’s growth rate was expected to average at 1 percent by the same year.
The local e-book market has been referred to as an industry with enormous potential as some expect it to grow 10-fold from 2006 to 2012.
E-books, deemed to become especially popular among overseas Koreans or people who wish to buy Korean-language books in digital format, will be sold for at least 40 percent less than paper books.
In a related effort, the Culture Ministry also announced earlier in April that it would invest 60 billion won over a five-year period to nurture the local e-book industry.
It pledged to work on increasing the ground which the industry could bloom in, standardize e-book publishing technologies and spread digital reading habits.
The plan also includes supporting small and mid-sized publishing firms that have financial difficulties, and will nurture 1,000 people who are needed on-site by 2014.
The ministry said it would assist the production process of 10,000 well-recognized e-book every year and look for talented writers.
A total of 240,000 e-books are to be made available for borrowing from public libraries by the government in 2014.
Experts, however, say the industry — led mostly by small and mid-sized firms — still faces hurdles today in Korea with local giants, such as Samsung Electronics, claiming e-books will only play the part of an application for tablet PCs.
QUALCOMM Incorporated’s CEO Discusses Q4 2011 Results – Earnings Call Transcript [Seeking Alpha, Nov 2, 2011]
… With respect to mirasol, we continue to work with partners on low-volume projects as we await the completion of our new fab. …
… what the drag from mirasol was in fiscal year 2011, and how we should think about that for 2012.
William E. Keitel [executive vice president and chief financial officer]: … on mirasol, we did give an indication at the outset of 2011 that we expected — I think it was — if I remember correctly, we said about a $225 million operating loss. I expect we’ll update that in New York. And at this point — but with the business progressing, the R&D continuing and starting to bring more fab capacity online, we have a larger operating loss built into our guidance.
… on outlook for mirasol, specifically CapEx. I know you’re supposed to spend $1 billion this year. I think Japan pushed some of their CapEx into 2012. Can you give us some sort of updated perspective on where you see CapEx for that going as you continue to build out your fab into 2012 and maybe even beyond?
William E. Keitel: … on the mirasol CapEx. We did slow down what we had planned at the outset of this year to spend on the mirasol CapEx. At this point in our plans for fiscal ’12, we will catch up on the amount that we had originally projected for fiscal ’11.
LCD, E-ink Challenger Mirasol Will Be on Devices in Months [PCWorld, Nov 17, 2011]
Qualcomm’s Mirasol display technology, which has been under development for years, will be in full production and in devices by the middle of next year, said Paul Jacobs, CEO of Qualcomm, during a webcast investor meeting earlier this week.
The company is primarily focusing the screen technology on e-readers, but Mirasol displays have also been shown on tablets.
“We have partners who are really excited about the kind of capabilities that Mirasol brings — the ultra low power, sunlight visibility, the fact that we can do video on these things. So the devices are coming out, we’re feeling good about where we’re headed,” Jacobs said.
Displays are the biggest power hog on devices and Mirasol’s low-power attribute is its biggest advantage, Jacobs said.
“If you have an Android phone … you’ll generally see it’s the display that’s using most of the battery. We have just got to deal with the issue,” Jacobs said.