Hisense to buy Qualcomm’s Innovative MEMS Mobile Phone Displays

qualcomm1.jpgHisense, a Chinese electronics manufacturer, and Qualcomm, a wireless products developer, announced today that Qualcomm MEMS displays will be put into Hisense phones in 2008. The Qualcomm MEMS displays are being touted as superior in viewing quality and lower in power consumption.

Qualcomm has developed the first direct view MEMS display for mobile devices, an innovation that offers display clarity in a wide range of conditions, including bright sunlight. The displays are able to harness ambient light through technology called interferometric modulation (IMOD). By tapping into background light, the display uses less energy than conventional displays. Batteries drain slower allowing more usage time between those inconvenient recharge periods.

“Mobile phone handsets are an ideal application for our MEMS displays
due to their power savings and excellent outdoor viewing quality,” said
James Cathey, vice president of business development for Qualcomm MEMS
Technologies, Inc. “When it comes to cell phones, consumer expectations are
continually increasing in terms of where they can use their phones, what
types of applications they can run and how long they can use them between
charges. Qualcomm’s MEMS displays rise to the challenge on all these
fronts, furthering the cell phone’s position as a ubiquitous consumer

“This collaboration with Qualcomm MEMS Technologies, Inc. bodes well
for the future of the wireless market and is of great strategic
significance to Hisense,” said Shi Yongchang, general manager of Qingdao
Hisense Communication Co., Ltd. “The technological platform of Qualcomm’s
MEMS display is a real breakthrough in display technology and will lead to
the upgrade of today’s communications technology. We look forward to
launching more innovative products, in cooperation with Qualcomm, to better
serve our customers.”

Qualcomm’s MEMS may be superior to conventional mobile device displays in bright light but when things get darker I don’t see how a display that utilizes ambient light can be an energy saver. The picture may be crisp in a bright setting but how good is it in the dark? I can’t help but think of an old solar calculator I have. It works great when I’m outside and there is a sunny day, but at all the other times I need a number it just collects dust.