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No Mirasol e-reader for U.S., but China gets Bambook Sunflower

A new e-reader using Qualcomm's highly anticipated Mirasol color display, which is viewable in direct sunlight, will be available in China in February.

The Bambook Sunflower will be available for purchase in China in February (click to enlarge). Screenshot by David Carnoy/CNET

LAS VEGAS--Qualcomm's Mirasol display technology, which was supposed to be the next big thing in e-readers, still hasn't made it into a product in the U.S. or Europe, but the Bambook Sunflower E-Reader is coming to China in February.

"With the Bambook Sunflower e-Reader, Shanghai Nutshell and Shanda have raised consumer expectations for digital reading, both in terms of color content and an interactive user experience," said Clarence Chui, senior vice president and general manager of Qualcomm MEMS Technologies.

Mirasol color displays are more energy-efficient than traditional LCD and can be viewed in direct sunlight like e-ink displays. However, so far, Qualcomm has struggled to get the price of the technology down to where it can compete with LCD and e-ink.

As for the Bambook Sunflower, it features a 5.7-inch 1,024x768-pixel Mirasol display (screen resolution of 223 ppi) and Qualcomm's 1.0 GHz Snapdragon S2 processor. The Bambook custom application interface sits atop an Android 2.3 base.

The Bambook e-reader will be available for prepurchase and will ship to customers in February 2012.

A closer look at the Bambook Sunflower and its Mirasol display (click to enlarge). Shanghai Nutshell