Amazon buys Liquavista is a color Kindle finally coming

first_imgAmazon is the undisputed king of the e-reader market with its line of Kindle devices. But if you want a color reading experience, the LCD-based tablets are the only way to go — at least right now. Amazon has confirmed that it just bought Samsung’s Liquavista subsidiary for an undisclosed sum. This company has been developing new screen technologies that combine the benefits of LCDs and e-paper. Could LCD be on the way out at Amazon?Liquavista was launched in 2006 as a Philips company, but was acquired by Samsung in 2010. As the Korean electronics giant continued developing its popular AMOLED technology, interest in Liquavista’s approach reportedly waned, leading to the Amazon sale. Liquavista produces electrowetting displays, which have the ability to display images, video, or text with low power consumption and enhanced outdoor performance (much like e-paper).Electrowetting displays, like those developed by Liquavista, use voltages to move liquid “pixels” around. The theory behind a electrowetting screen is not that dissimilar from LCDs. In an LCD the application of voltage changes the opacity of the liquid crystal. In an electrowetting system, a bead of black oil takes the place of the crystal. In this case, voltage makes the black pigment contract by altering its wettability and allowing light to shine through. Simply do the same with red, blue, and green subpixels and you can create any color you need.Liquavista’s manufacturing process has been designed to allow existing fabrication plants to switch to electrowetting production with little issue. This would be of interest to Amazon, as it contracts with ODMs to do all of its Kindle manufacturing. Amazon is also surely interested in electrowetting displays as a way of bringing its Fire tablets closer in battery usage to the traditional Kindle readers.Amazon isn’t offering any hints about how Liquavista technology might be used in future products, but it’s the clearest sign yet that true color e-readers are on the way.last_img read more