According to report, Amazon decided to shut down Liquavista - an e-paper developer that it has acquired in 2013. It is not clear yet whether Amazon decided to discard the technology, or whether it has moved the technology to another part of the organization.
Liquavista was established in 2006 as a spin-off from Philips, with an aim to develop its Electrowetting technology, which can be used to develop full-color and video-capable e-paper displays. Liquavista was acquired by Samsung in 2011, and in 2013 Samsung sold it to Amazon.
Visionect recently appointed Sri Pervuemba to its board of directory. Sri is a long time display veteran and was E Ink's chief marketing manager for over 10 years. Sri is also a good friend and has been supporting E-Ink-Info from its launch. Sri was kind enough to answer a few questions we had regarding the e-paper market and Visionect's technology and platform.
But first, an official bio: Sri Peruvemba is the CEO of Marketer International. His 25 years of experience in the electronics industry include marketing LCD, CRT, TFEL, OLED, LED, Plasma and ePaper displays into the consumer, mobile, industrial, medical, signage and TV markets. He earned a BSEE, a MBA and a Post Graduate Diploma in Management. He was previously CMO for E Ink and also held senior level positions at Sharp Corp, TFS Inc., Planar Systems and Suntronic Technology. Peruvemba currently serves as Director on the Board of Visionect Inc., as well as on the board of the Society for Information Display(SID).
Etulipa, based in The Netherlands, is developing large-size low-resolution reflective monochrome electrowetting displays aimed towards outdoor signage - billboards applications. The company teamed up with Taiwan's URT - who has a license to make and sell display modules based on Etulipa's technology.
According to DisplayDaily, mass production of such billboard displays is expected in Q1 2017. It'll be great to finally see a commercial electrowetting display.
Back in 2013, Samsung sold LiquaVista, its electrowetting display unit, to Amazon (Samsung itselfÂ bought Liquavista in 2011). Electrowetting enables low-power non-volatile color e-paper displays, but the technology has not been commercialized yet.
According to Good-E-Reader, Amazon is now developing an 8" color e-reader that uses an electrowetting display, and it plans to release this new e-reader towards the end of 2016. Amazon will produce these new displays in China - at the Beijing Century Joyo Information Technology's fab in Shenzhen. This is of course not confirmed yet or anything, it'll be interesting to see if Amazon is indeed so far advanced with its Electrowetting tech.
IDTechEx posted an interesting article discussing the current state of the most promising e-paper technologies (E Ink, LiquaVista, Mirasol, Folium Optics' Electrokinetic and Gamma Dynamics' Electrofluidic).
The article discusses the possible applications of each technology.
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.
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...
According to Samsung LCD Netherlands R&D Center (SNRC)âs Johan Feenstra, Samsung is set to start producing Electrowetting displays in 2013. The new panels will features color and fast refresh rates. According to Samsung, these new panels will be much more efficient than E Ink, too. Samsung is currently focusing on 9.7" prototypes.
Here's a chart provided by Samsung showing how much more efficient the new technology is compared to E Ink:
Samsung is showing a new 9.7" XGA resolution Electrowetting display prototype. We don't have any information yet beside this photo:
Update: We found two videos (of the color and low-frequency displays), see below
Samsung is showing new Electrowetting 6.2" display prototypes. They are showing 3 different displays - a color reflective one, a mono reflective one and a low frequency one. We don't have any technical information yet...