E Ink acquires Sipix, remains sole e-paper provider

E Ink has bought AUO's shares (82.7%) in Sipix Technology (STI) - the maker of micro?cup technology based electrophoretic e-paper displays. E Ink also intends to buy the remaining STI shares. The whole deal is worth about NT$1.5 billion (about $50 million USD) and will should close during Q4 2012.

Flexible solar Sipix prototypeFlexible solar Sipix prototype

Sipix's technology is pretty similar to E Ink's. It's not clear whether E Ink intends to continue producing Sipix displays or whether they bought them just for the IP and to remove a competitor. Sipix has been used in some e-readers (for example the Cybook Orizon), and apparently has some advantages over E Ink in the touch technology and refresh rate. E Ink is of course the clear e-paper e-reader leader with over 90% market share.

AUO developed a flexible solar powered 6" e-paper display

AUO is showing a new prototype that integrates a flexible e-paper display with a flexible PV and battery. They call this an "unplugged flexible e-paper display". The display is 6" in size and offers 800x600 resolution, and is based on organic TFTs.

Flexible solar Sipix prototype

The PV battery is based on amorphous silicon and weights just 10 grams. With 1.5AM (air mass) solar light, it generates 1W or more of electricity (it offers conversion efficiency of about 3.6% or higher).

AUO's Sipix e-paper is now fast enough for video (6fps)

It's been a while since we heard some news regarding AUO's Sipix e-paper technology. IRX Innovation tested the new panel and found it's fast enough for video (6fps):

In fact IRX engineers say that this could be improved to 10fps just by loading the images into a memory buffer. The panel on show offers VGA resolution (480x640), 100Hz refresh rate and 4 gray levels (although this will be improved to 16 levels). Here's a closeup of the panel:

AUO to show new e-paper displays

FPD China starts tomorrow, and ;AUO plans to show several SiPix e-paper displays. These will include 2" e-tags, 4.3" e-reader, 6" and 9" touch panels for e-readers, 6" foldable e-reader module and a 20" display for electronic bulletin boards.

AUO will also show new AMOLED and 3D displays.

Why did Bookeen use Sipix and not E Ink in their upcoming Orizon reader?

Bookeen are a France-based e-reader maker, that currently offer two models that use E Ink displays (the Cybook Gen3, available now for 350$, and the Opus, available now for 215$). They are set to release a new one, the Orizon, which uses Sipix e-paper instead. We have posted an interview with their CEO over at E-Reader-Info, discussing this, and other e-reader issues. If you don't want to read the whole interview, here's the 3 reasons why they moved to Sipix:

  1. AUO (Sipix) touchscreen is light year away from Sony resistive technology. You keep the optical quality of ePaper and you get an incredibly reactive touchscreen. For us touchscreen on such a large display is a must-have.
  2. AUO has great developments and move incredibly fast.
  3. They did not want to depend only on one screen manufacturer (PVI).

If you do want to read the whole interview, here's the link.

First SiPix e-paper readers announced

Tianjin Jinke announced 3 new e-readers today. Two of them use SiPix's e-paper technology, with 6" and 9" displays. These are the first e-readers announced that use SiPix's displays.

The third e-reader (the V30+) uses an E Ink display.

ITRI will co-develop flexible e-paper with AUO and Elan

Taiwan's Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI) will co-develop large-size flexible e-paper with AU Optronics. They will also co-develop large-size flexible touch panels with Elan Microelectronics. In the future they also plan to develop e-paper panels that will be ultra-thin, touch enabled, flexible and transparent.

AUO to release 6" flexible e-paper in 2010, and shows a 20" e-paper prototype

AUO says they will release a 6" flexible e-paper next year (samples, anyway, with volume production to start afterwards). They are also showing a 20" e-paper module, which they say is the world's largest e-paper which is "ready for production". 

The 6" flexible e-paper is using Sipix's (owned by AUO) Microcup technology. It is made on a plastic substrate, and can be repeatedly bended. The curved radius reaches 100mm, it features 16 gray levels, 9:1 high contrast ratio and a reflectance of 33%. It consumes power only when the image is updated.

The 20" panel is very power efficient, requiring less thatn 2W. It also have 16 levels of gray.