Qualcomm Wins South Korea’s Kyobo as Mirasol Display Customer

Qualcomm Inc. (QCOM), the biggest maker of mobile-phone chips, signed up Korea’s Kyobo Book Center Co. as a customer for Mirasol, a technology designed to help it gain a toehold in the market for electronics displays.

Kyobo, South Korea’s largest book seller, will begin selling an e-reader using Mirasol that can go “weeks” without needing a battery charge, the two companies said today in a statement. The device, which will also use a Qualcomm Snapdragon processor, will cost 349,000 won ($305).

Qualcomm, which gets most of its sales from mobile-phone processors and radio chips, is expanding into displays, pioneering a technology that it says will extend battery life in handheld devices. The San Diego-based company is investing more than $1 billion in a new plant to produce the screens.

The company aims to land Mirasol on a broad range of electronics in the future. For now, it works best with e- readers, the company has said. Qualcomm predicts that the operating loss in the Mirasol business will widen to $300 million in fiscal 2012 from $225 million in 2011.

The first devices to use Mirasol will get displays from the company’s existing small plant, with production increasing in the middle of next year from the new factory, Chief Executive Paul Jacobs said at a presentation for analysts last week.

Qualcomm fell 2.1 percent to $54.27 at 4 p.m. in New York trading yesterday. The stock has gained 9.7 percent this year.

To contact the reporter on this story: Ian King in San Francisco at ianking@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Tom Giles at tgiles5@bloomberg.net

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