Two months ago it was rumored that Samsung wants to sell its electrowetting display unit LiquaVista which they bought back in January 2011, and Amazon may turn out to be the buyer. Now Amazon confirmed the rumors and indeed bought LiquaVista from Samsung.
It makes sense that Amazon is seeking a color display technology for its Kindle e-readers. It may be that E Ink's colored displays are still disappointing Amazon and they need a display with a wider color gamut and better contrast.
The Earl is a rugged tablet aimed for outdoor use. It has a rugged case and a flexible 6" 1024x768 LG Display-made flexible E Ink panel with infrared touch. Other features include a built-in solar panel, Android, Wi-fi, Bluetooth, NFC, GPS and AM/FM Radio. The device is powered by a low-power 1 Ghz processor, 1GB of RAM and 16GB of flash memory (and a microSD slot).
The Earl will hopefully be funded in crowd-funding campaign (using their own system, not kickstarter or something like that) - like several E Ink products lately. They aim to raise $250,000 and currently they have over $60,000 with 30 days to go. The price seems very low for the specifications, this one will be interesting to watch.
E Ink Holdings is raising money - the company will issue 60 million new shares. The current share price is $NT 21, so the company will raise about $40 million USD. E Ink Holdings had large losses in 2012 (around $25 million) due to the drop in e-reader sales.
Artile is a new project on Kickstarter that aims to develop wireless (Bluetooth) 6"E Ink photo frames. The idea is that you can hang these frames in which you can change the photo that is displayed using your mobile phone. While these frames will most likely be hang on a wall at home (it will be easy to hand them, too), they can also be placed on your car, in restaurants, on windows - and wherever you like as there's no need for a power source (the battery should last for over a year).
This is a cool idea. If you like it, you can hop over to Kickstarter and support them. For $75, you will get one a kit with one frame and the required mobile phone software (and for $99 you will get housing and hangers, too). I hope this project will reach its goal, I helped a bit too with one early-bird backing...
According to Bloomberg, Samsung wants to sell its electrowetting display unit LiquaVista which they bought back in January 2011. They are currently in talks with Amazon, that will pay a sub-$100 million sum to Samsung for the unit. According to the report, a Samsung spokesperson admitted that the Liquavista acquisition "didn't meet its expectations".
I believe Amazon does want to bring new life into its Kindle e-reader line, and LiquaVista's display can enable color e-paper displays with a fast refresh rate compared to E Ink. On the other hand the technology is much less mature and I'm not sure if Amazon is the sort of company to actually succeed in commercializing such a technology. This one is going to be interesting to watch...
ICAP Patent Brokerage is going to auction an IP package of high-definition, full-color e-paper innovations from the Industry-Academic Cooperation Foundation, Yonsei University.
ICAP says that the IP package features a flexible electrophoretic display capable of displaying multi-color, high-definition images. The IP portfolio covers a grayscale representation unit with various charged particles for displaying grayscale by using light reflection and transmission. The color in the display is presented by using colored particles in an electrode placed above the grayscale unit. These colored particles are made of metallic nano-particles and formed in a specific pattern on the upper electrode for presenting a high-definition, multi-color colored display. Manufacturing of the colored particles or layers may include slurry process, screen printing, ink-jet, or nano-printing that may have high industrial applicability and is cost effective.
E Ink reports that their (unaudited) January 2013 revenues totaled NT$2.57 billion (almost $87 million) - a 82% increase compared to January 2012. The company says that the e-reader market segment remains strong and LCD sales "met expectations". The company's chairman says that their diversification efforts are showing traction in the areas of Mobile Phones, Wrist Watches, Electronic Shelf Labels and others.