Qualcomm is hoping to turn the ebook reader market on its head with the launch of a screen technology called Mirasol that not only offers colour over the current greyscale offerings, but also adds video as well.

The new technology, which is currently doing the rounds in a 5.7-inch demo unit will use "interferometric modulation" display technology that means that they can do colour, and they can do video - something that ereader devices can't currently do.

The tech is based on the natural principle that makes butterfly wings shimmer. Tiny membranes that can be controlled with electric charges are laid onto a mirrored surface. Light coming through the membranes gets refracted and the interference can produce colour. As a result, no backlight is required, and the experience is better - rather than worse - in direct sunlight.

That usage of natural light also extends the battery life of devices. The company says that devices with a regular e-ink display could last 20-40% longer if they were equipped with an interferometric display instead.

In the flesh and its easy to see the appeal of offering something more than e-ink, but not as eye-straining as a computer.

Qualcomm believe it will have a device using the screen technology in the market before the year is out.

We will keep you posted.