The acquisition of e-reader display specialist Liquavista suggests Samsung is planning on an e-reader of its own.
Seeking to gain a leg up in
the growing e-reader market, Samsung Electronics has acquired Liquavista, a
Dutch company that uses electrowetting cell technology to build digital
displays for mobile applications such as e-readers, mobile phones, GPS devices,
portable media players and cameras.
"In the future, consumers will need products that not only
support full color and video, but also offer readability in all lighting
conditions and gives them ultimate freedom and portability," said Johan
Feenstra, who was named CEO of Liquavista following the acquisition. "Being
part of Samsung, we can all be sure that electrowetting display technology will
find its way to the market in the fastest possible time."
Liquivista, which was
acquired for an undisclosed sum in a buyout of its shares, will become a fully
owned affiliate of Samsung Electronics.
technology platform, LiquavistaBright, is designed to enable a smooth, fast
user interface on e-reader devices, due to the inherent video capability. LiquavistaColor,
based on the LiquavistaBright architecture, adds a color filter to create
full-color displays, analogous to LCD displays but with enhanced optical
A third technology,
LiquavistaVivid, combines the high optical performance of a monochrome display
with the highly saturated color performance that people are used to from TV
screens, Designed to run on a low-power e-reader, the company said these
screens would allow e-readers to converge with other applications and become
fully interactive multimedia portable devices.
"We are thrilled by this
event," said Feenstra. "The outright acquisition of Liquavista by the largest
electronics company in the world is ... confirmation of the disruptive potential
that our technology will have in the display market."
A Samsung release explained that
in e-paper applications, the response time of electrowetting displays would be
more than 70 times faster than that of existing reflective displays, allowing
for color videos, which the company said was previously thought impossible.
"As electrowetting can
be manufactured by modifying existing LCD production lines, Samsung will be
able to realize significant synergies through the use of existing manufacturing
equipment and capabilities, the statement said.
Sales of e-readers are
projected to increase 68.3 percent in 2011, to more than 11 million units,
according to a December report from Gartner.
While Samsung, Sony, Amazon
and others battle for market share, they also face a growing threat from Apple
and the iPad tablet. A recent survey from ChangeWave Research suggested that
the iPad's share of the e-reader market had expanded from 16 percent to 32
percent between August and November 2010, even as the Kindle's dipped from 62
percent to 47 percent.