Qualcomm, looking to expand their product portfolio after making a name for themselves by being one of the best suppliers of chipsets for mobile phones, has announced that they’re going to invest $1 billion in Mirasol display technology by building a factory in Taiwan that produces screens for various types of devices. Last summer it was rumored that they might try this, but the numbers have changed. Back then it was thought that they’d pump $2 billion into the factory. Mirasol is a technology we’ve seen at trade shows for what feels like a couple of years now, but it’s yet to reach the hands of consumers due to pricing issues. That’s going to change once this factory is up and running; no date has been given as to when that will actually happen, but Qualcomm CEO Paul Jacobs said that we can expect sharp price cuts for the advanced screens once it does.
Displays are one of the most expensive components inside any mobile device, whether it be a smartphone, tablet, or laptop. It’s mainly due to the limited production capacity that’s starting to become a burden on manufacturers. Samsung, like Qualcomm, has been investing in money in building a display factory in Taiwan, but where the two firms differ is that the South Korean company will use OLED technology. They’re not really competing technologies since Mirasol is meant to go into ultra low power devices such as feature phones and eBook readers, while OLED is supposed to be for higher end smartphones and eventually high definition televisions.
What will happen to the smartphone market once a flood of cheap displays is available? That’ll be interesting to see since Android smartphones have already hit $150 and they’re actually pretty decent; they’ll only get better with time too. Imagine a sub $100 smartphone with specifications like the Nexus One and the same type of screen to boot!