Qualcomm’s MEMS-based Mirasol display technology has made a surprise appearance at the SID Display Week event in Vancouver with a couple of proof-of concepts intended for devices such as smartphones and smart watches. The two mockups included a 5.1-inch display with a resolution of 2560 x 1440, making up for a massive 577 pixels per inch, and a 1.5-inch panel for which further specs remained under wraps.

Although neither is fully functional at this point, the company took the opportunity to dispel the notion that its reflective display technology was dead, clarifying that it merely deviated from its initial roadmap to tailor products for an upcoming wave of wearable computing devices. One such improvement made in that direction was merging the two screen layers of its previous design into a single layer capable of producing richer colors.

For those unfamiliar with the technology, Mirasol is said to be six times more power efficient than LCD and OLED screens, given that it depends on an external light source to illuminate its images rather than an active backlight. Ars explains the panels are made with a micro-electro-mechanical system (MEMS) based on Interferometric Modulation (IMOD) technology, which enables paper-like readability in almost any ambient condition.

Of course, Qualcomm has also produced versions with front illumination, which can be turned on and off as needed for use in low-light situations. Refresh rates are also said to be quick enough to handle video, all of which make the technology ideal for color e-readers as well as low-power phones and tablets.

But for all its benefits, production delays and other complications have held back the technology, prompting big name e-reader manufacturers to stick with monochrome e-paper displays from E Ink.

Qualcomm still has some R&D ahead before Mirasol’s latest iteration is ready to hit the market. The 5.1-inch smartphone display is said to be a few years away from mass production, but the 1.5-inch variant is reportedly closer to launch as a company executive said it will soon make its way into products from third party vendors.

Video source Goodereader.com