Kyobo Book Centre, the largest book retailer in South Korea, has announced the availability of the Kyobo eReader, the world’s first e-reader device using the low-power, color mirasol display by Qualcomm.
The Kyobo eReader will have a 5.7″ touchscreen display with a resolution of 1024 x 768. It is powered by a 1 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon processor, and runs a very customized and locked down version of Gingerbread.
The mirasol color display technology from Qualcomm is the most interesting feature of this e-reader, obviously. It uses mirrors to both reflect light and project color. The technology is described by Qualcomm as biomimicry, mimicking the biological concepts behind the color, reflection, and iridescence of butterfly wings and translating it into digital display technology.
This results in an e-ink-like display that is very readable outdoors in strong sunlight. It is also very low power (it will supposedly have up to 3 weeks of battery life) like e-ink screens, but has the added benefit of color and video playback. As a result, the Kyobo eReader essentially functions like a very efficient, low-power tablet. And given that it runs on top of Gingerbread, if it can be rooted and otherwise hacked, this could be quite the interesting Android tablet.
Check out this video from CTIA 2010 showing off the mirasol display technology:
Kyobo Book Centre plans to offer 90,000 e-books for the Kyobo eReader at launch, as well as educational videos and other educational content. They also plan to have social networking integration and an English text-to-speech feature. As such, the devices will first be sold to students in South Korea for approximately $310 USD. It is available in South Korea today, but there is no word yet on whether the Kyobo eReader will be sold outside of the country.