Qualcomm – Pixtronix and Mirasol

Qualcomm has recently acquired Pixtronix, the Boston area-designer of a MEMS-based flat panel display for low-power mobile applications. This makes the second MEMS-based display company Qualcomm has acquired. In 2004 it bought Iridigm Display Corporation’s IMod technology, now called Mirasol.

This seems to have been a stealth acquisition and neither company has issued a press release on the transaction, so details are not certain yet. I guess it is no surprise Jignesh Gandhi, Director of Product Engineering at Pixtronix, did not discuss the pending acquisition when he talked to the SID on November 10th. Instead, he talked about Pixtronix technology and the company’s three licensees, Hitachi, Samsung and Chimei Innolux (CMI). While these companies have all demonstrated the technology, none are expected to have a product on the market for at least a year.

While they are both MEMS, the Mirasol and Pixtronix display technologies are quite different from each other. The Mirasol display is an ultra-low power reflective display suited for applications like full color e-book readers and other power critical mobile systems. The Pixtronix display is about 75% lower power than a conventional LCD, according to Gandhi. This also makes it suitable for hand-held, power sensitive applications. The Pixtronix display is a transmissive technology, and has a backlight much like the one on a LCD. The backlight can be run at a much lower power, however, due to the much higher transmission of the Pixtronix front plane compared to a LCD design.

Original article: http://displaydaily.com/2011/12/07/qualcomm-acquires-pixtronix/

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