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Amazon Buys Sunlight Readable Color Display Company Liquavista

Unknown Lamer posted about a year ago | from the dreaming-of-pixel-qi dept.

Displays 56

Nate the greatest writes "It looks like those 4 month old rumors are true. Amazon has confirmed today that they have bought Liquavista, a Netherlands based screen tech company. There's no info yet on how much Amazon paid to Samsung, but previous rumors suggested that the asking price was under $100 million. Amazon also isn't talking about how they plan to use the electrowetting screen tech, but many are assuming that a Color Kindle is in the works."

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Well of course. (5, Insightful)

girlintraining (1395911) | about a year ago | (#43715549)

Amazon also isn't talking about how they plan to use the electrowetting screen tech, but many are assuming that a Color Kindle is in the works."

Something I learned many, many years ago watching Apple's amazing marketing division at work. Leak. Leak early, leak often. Spread rumors. But deny everything. This accomplishes two things: First, it gives you very accurate marketing data on what your customers are expecting and want. Second, it creates an atmosphere of expectation and excitement. By carefully modulating these things, you can multiply the amount of advertising for your product many, many times over what conventional marketing can do.

Amazon is just taking a page from Apple's playbook.

Re: Well of course. (4, Funny)

alen (225700) | about a year ago | (#43715597)

Microsoft did this in the 90's

Windows 8 is still missing features hyped almost 20 years ago

Re: Well of course. (1)

kamapuaa (555446) | about a year ago | (#43715651)

Starting up your word processor is as easy as running over and opening a door in Wolf3D!

Re: Well of course. (4, Funny)

VortexCortex (1117377) | about a year ago | (#43716235)

Stop Son!

I see you're trying to open a document with embedded macros. Would you like to scan this file for malware first, or would you like me to install the malware myself?

Re: Well of course. (1)

sonamchauhan (587356) | about a year ago | (#43717131)

Now that's an idea for an AI bot in a game.

"Stop son! I see you're trying to open a document with embedded demons. Would you like to scan this portal for malware first,..."

Re: Well of course. (2)

alexander_686 (957440) | about a year ago | (#43716705)

There is a big differance between Microsoft and Appl.e

Microsoft gave deadlines on when things would ship sometimes vauge - but they would annouce what they where doing.

Apple will not even say that it has a working product until launch.

Re: Well of course. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43720045)

Windows 8 is still missing features hyped almost 20 years ago

Windows 7 lacks features XP had.

Re: Well of course. (0)

UnknowingFool (672806) | about a year ago | (#43715645)

Whatever. Perhaps Apple denies everything because the rumors were just that: rumors. Their has been rumors of an iPhone mini every since the iPhone came out. That hasn't been true yet. I remember when the iPad 2 came out in early Spring, there were rumors of an iPad 3 in early fall. That made no sense. There were rumors of an iPad mini. Well after a few years, the rumors were true. The iPhone and iPad releases are fairly predictable so rumors of a new iPhone coming out this fall won't exactly be a surprise.

Re: Well of course. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43717973)

I'm not actually sure what the rumors are for in this industry in the first place. I prefer people just announce what are they working on, and what their goal is, and see how far they got with it. The idea of hyping up products is alike to the screaming teenager girls on a Beatles gig back in the day. You may like The Beatles, maybe they make good music, but you can only know that if people don't scream their head of right next to you, so you can hear the music.

Re: Well of course. (1)

UnknowingFool (672806) | about a year ago | (#43721579)

My contention is that Apple isn't starting these rumors. Other people are. Most of the time it is a fan or a so called "analyst". Apple doesn't address them because they don't want to. The rumor might be true or false but Apple didn't start it. I would take all rumors with a grain of salt. For example, one analyst said Apple was going to have a horrible spring quarter because he heard that Apple cut their orders to their suppliers from the previous quarter. The quarter financials came out and Apple had a record quarter. Here's where the "analyst" was wrong. It's true that Apple cut their orders in the Spring. But they do that almost every Spring as Apple sells much more product during the holiday season. It's the same as the iPhone mini rumors being released next quarter. Could Apple be working on a smaller phone? Maybe. But when/if they release it isn't certain.

Re:Well of course. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43715887)

gives you very accurate marketing data on what your customers are expecting and want.

it creates an atmosphere of expectation and excitement.

Solves the problem of the chicken and the egg.

Re:Well of course. (1)

radarskiy (2874255) | about a year ago | (#43716085)

Could you please direct us to the factual basis for your claims that Apple deliberately leaks information as a marketing tactic?

Re:Well of course. (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43716643)

http://www.macobserver.com/tmo/article/how_apple_does_controlled_leaks

Re:Well of course. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43726037)

Note that Martellaro contradicts girlintraining's "leak early, leak often" narrative. Instead it sounds like deliberate leaks are rare events, done for specific reasons rather than everyday SOP, and are only given to a tiny shortlist of trusted publications. The Apple rumor mill girlintraining is implicitly referencing is a huge conglomeration of idiots trying to get scoops by throwing shit at the wall and hoping it'll stick, not people being fed real insider info by Apple as corporate policy.

Re:Well of course. (1)

Chrisq (894406) | about a year ago | (#43717769)

Something I learned many, many years ago watching Apple's amazing marketing division at work. Leak. Leak early, leak often.

Pst ... don't tell anyone but there's going to be a great new HURD desktop.

You mean like the Kindle Fire? (0)

Nova Express (100383) | about a year ago | (#43715575)

You know, the color Kindle that's been on the market a year and a half [amazon.com] ?

Pssst, I heard some other top secret rumors you might be able to use: I hear that Apple is working on a phone!

Re:You mean like the Kindle Fire? (2)

raydobbs (99133) | about a year ago | (#43715611)

Nice referrer link! I think they would want a display that doesn't drain a battery quite like the displays on most active screen tablets (you'd be lucky to get 8 hours out of a current Fire). This would be more for the low-power-draw devices like the Kindle Paperweight.

Re:You mean like the Kindle Fire? (3, Informative)

AnotherAnonymousUser (972204) | about a year ago | (#43715621)

That's really not the same technology at all. That's an LCD screen. We're hoping for something that gets more than 8 hours of battery life, and something closer to the two months the Kindles can get.

Re:You mean like the Kindle Fire? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43717965)

Half an hour a day does not equal "two months"...

Re:You mean like the Kindle Fire? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43715635)

Color kindle *that has the benefits of e-ink*. Reading the fire in the sun isn't a very pleasant experience, but with this display tech it would be.

Re:You mean like the Kindle Fire? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43715657)

The Fire is an LED slate just like the iPad. I.e. pretty shit for reading in real daylight, particularly in direct sunlight. The Kindle is an e-reader. Don't confuse the two, posting on /. says you should know the difference. So fuck off with your failed sarcasm.

Re:You mean like the Kindle Fire? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43717129)

LED. Mmmhmm.

Re:You mean like the Kindle Fire? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43715757)

Nice referrer link douche bag.

Re:You mean like the Kindle Fire? (5, Interesting)

Y-Crate (540566) | about a year ago | (#43715849)

I may buy a tablet in the next year or two, but I'm not planning letting go of my B&W Kindle w/ e-ink -- unless it's to replace it with a color e-ink model.

Trying to read a book on a backlit LCD screen in a pain in the ass on a good day and simply not possible in direct sunlight.

I love that Amazon has made (quite good) Kindle apps for just every piece of hardware I own - and I use them - but mainly for trying out samples and calling up specific passages.

Once you get hooked on e-ink, it's hard to go back to anything else.

Re:You mean like the Kindle Fire? (3, Interesting)

Jartan (219704) | about a year ago | (#43717405)

That's the interesting thing about this technology. It can be reflective OR backlit. Combining it with the paperwhite lighting should work great.

Re:You mean like the Kindle Fire? (2)

sgtrock (191182) | about a year ago | (#43719459)

Trying to read a book on a backlit LCD screen in a pain in the ass on a good day...

While I will be the first to admit that e-ink is truly wonderful for direct sunlight condition, I still have to say, "Wow, hyperbole much?"

A month ago I spent four days' vacation in the Dominican Republic, most of which was spent lounging around the pool with my wife. She's got a Kindle Fire and I have a Nook Color. Neither one of us had any problem at all reading books in sunlight bright enough to require sunglasses.

Here's a tip: Don't forget to turn up the screen brightness all the way before going outside. That's all that's really required.

Re:You mean like the Kindle Fire? (2)

IronChef (164482) | about a year ago | (#43720035)

I had 2 e-ink readers, and did like them quite a bit... but then I got a Nexus 7 and haven't touched them. The screen is perfectly usable outdoors. Not AWESOME... but usable. In partial shade, like sitting next to the window on a bus, it's fantastic.

YMMV.

NOT #1 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43715577)

So is Samsung still pursuing the technology then?

Re:NOT #1 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43715659)

No, because it was crap. Hence why they sold it off.

uh... (0)

WGFCrafty (1062506) | about a year ago | (#43715601)

My kindle is color... do they mean color e-ink?

Re:uh... (1)

Dynedain (141758) | about a year ago | (#43715731)

Yes, this is a company with color e-ink technology.

Re:uh... (3, Informative)

jtownatpunk.net (245670) | about a year ago | (#43716097)

No, they're not. It's not eInk at all. It's a new method of building a color LCD panel that is reflective. Entirely different.

Color eInk already exists. Google the Etaco Jetbook Color. 4096 colors and slow refresh rate (like B/W eInk). Not the same thing other than they're both reflective, color displays.

Re:uh... (2)

tricorn (199664) | about a year ago | (#43716297)

It isn't e-ink, but it also isn't an LCD. RTFA.

Re:uh... (2)

Dynedain (141758) | about a year ago | (#43717361)

It's very similar to e-ink, the way LCD is similar to the same technology that's been powering your clock for 30 years.

"Color e-ink" is a good shorthand way of thinking about it.

Re:uh... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43717795)

> Color eInk already exists. Google the Etaco Jetbook Color.

I just watched some YouTube reviews of the Jetbook Color, and frankly it's not quite there yet. The color is dull, not at all bright or vibrant, and on many images barely noticeable. I think it's a good step forward, but I'll wait for better technology to come to market before I buy.

Re:uh... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43718289)

Electrowetting has actually been around 10 years at least, and when I wrote an essay on the topic some 5 years ago I found a lot of studies on the subject albeit mostly by the same few authors:

http://scholar.google.com/scholar?q=electrowetting [google.com]

At the time when I was studying the subject the spotlight was on LCD- and OLED-displays, as they were evolving rapidly. Electrowetting was not at the time utilized anywhere, except for conceptual designs and prototypes.

To be honest, I hadn't followed up on the topic at all and assumed electrowetting displays had died away. Hopefully Amazon can prove me wrong as the concept itself is quite innovative.

Samsung. (1)

houbou (1097327) | about a year ago | (#43715647)

Samsung just bought Liquavista in 2012.. interesting.. How will that work? I mean Samsung is more than likely going to use this technology.

Re:Samsung. (2)

Dynedain (141758) | about a year ago | (#43715743)

Samsung just bought Liquavista in 2012.. interesting.. How will that work? I mean Samsung is more than likely going to use this technology.

Well clearly they're not planning to use it and instead are selling it Amazon.

Re:Samsung. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43716077)

We snifed, we inspected, we passed it on.

Wat is worrying though is that Amazon are on their long-declared warpath to dominate all things book. They snap up every bit of publishing tech, and the book resellers (or drive them to bankruptcy). They apparently recently bought out a UK competitor in the online book sales area. The world is not safe when there is just one player in town. Amazon already have removed books. All it now needs is a Hitler who bans this, bans that, and a whole slew of knowlegde is gone - for whichever of several motives or agendas. Buy your boooks in dead tree format while you can sheeple...

Re:Samsung. (2)

AlphaWolf_HK (692722) | about a year ago | (#43717413)

Alex Jones called, he wants his "gold medal for worst conspiracy theory ever" back.

Re:Samsung. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43726195)

Alex Jones called, he wants his "gold medal for worst conspiracy theory ever" back.

The shame about the GP discrediting his own post with the over-the-top Hitler theory is that there's a kernel of truth there -- Amazon actually is making a strong play to be a monopoly in ebooks, just as they made a really strong (and largely successful) play to control physical book distribution. (Did you know that Amazon has the power to demand far deeper discounts than retail chains could, simply by threatening to tank sales of key books if they don't get their way? Amazon sales figures make or break publishers these days, so they have little choice but to go along.)

But the monopolist behavior is adequately explained by Jeff Bezos wanting to cash in on sweet monopoly profits once Amazon has swept all the competition away. Bezos is a classic hedge fund libertarian -- anything goes so long as it puts money in his pocket.

Re:Samsung. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43715769)

Samsung sold Liquavista to Amazon and likely all IP and licensing rigths. According to rumors, it was sold at the same price they bought it for. So Samsung took a big wash on the deal since they put a lot of resources into the company in while they held it.

Re:Samsung. (2)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | about a year ago | (#43721865)


Samsung just bought Liquavista in 2012.. interesting.. How will that work? I mean Samsung is more than likely going to use this technology.

If I had to guess, Samsung gets a perpetual license to the technology at a small cost+ margin while Amazon foots the R&D bill. Probably Samsung was moving too slowly for what Amazon wanted, Bezos thought he could do better, so he made Samsung a win-win deal.

Re:Samsung. (1)

puppetman (131489) | about a year ago | (#43723787)

That's a good guess, but wouldn't Samsung rather have the technology and any potential patents?

Samsung is pretty good at making smart technology moves - buying factories, and other companies at the right time, and then dominating the market. You would think that this would be a nice technology to have with their tv/tablet/phone/laptop screen technology.

So maybe there are issues with the company (inept management, etc), intellectual property (ie the violate someone's patents), or technology (there are still significant barriers to overcome).

Or maybe Samsung sees the future on OLED, and doesn't want to spend resources on a stepping-stone technology that will disappear without a ripple in a few years.

Questions questions.

Re:Samsung. (1)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | about a year ago | (#43724041)

Or maybe Samsung sees the future on OLED, and doesn't want to spend resources on a stepping-stone technology

Yeah, good call. Amazon needs to stay top dog continuously, for its business model. $100M for three years of dominance might well be a good bargain. Samsung could skip a few years and wind up with the best display technology (which Amazon would buy) and they'd both still do well.

DRM (-1, Flamebait)

fekmist (2857907) | about a year ago | (#43715669)

We should be boycotting Amazon for their DRM infested swindle. I hope this does not succeed.

Re:DRM (1)

HiThere (15173) | about a year ago | (#43722613)

I've been avoiding them since they demonstrated with 1984 that they could remove books already purchased. I wouldn't actually say I was boycotting them, I'm merely no longer buying anything from them. Or recommending them. I also, however, don't buy much for the Nook, because I don't trust it not to be DRM infested. But it's a decent reader for e-pub text documents, most of which I get from Project Gutenberg .

(OTOH, despite many worthy actions, I don't trust Barnes&Nobel because of some rather sleazy, possibly illegal but IANAL, deals they've pulled to drive smaller bookstores out of business.)

Compare to e-ink (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43715839)

So, for someone who has seen it in person, how does it compare to e-ink ( both monochrome or triton )

Re: Compare to e-ink (1)

Pinky's Brain (1158667) | about a year ago | (#43718311)

That depends if it's rgb or ycm, rgb has low max brightness/contrast (more grey than white) without active lighting ... but ycm might have trouble with viewing angles (it's hard to say no one has demonstrated one yet).

That said, they have a youtube clip showing a rgb display playing a pokemon cartoon and with the right lighting and content even rgb can look amazing ... but not good enough to displace black and white for text.

Electrowetting (-1, Offtopic)

Feeff (2922441) | about a year ago | (#43715939)

"Amazon also isn't talking about how they plan to use the electrowetting screen tech, but many are assuming that a Color Kindle is in the works."

Not to be confused with electro-bed-wetting tech, which really just involves a bed, an electric blanket, and some fresh piss.
Apple and Samsung are still locking horns over that one.

informa7ive shitshit (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43716089)

moronic, di7ettante brain. It is the ink splashes across a way to speNd in time. For all

Well that sucks (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43717229)

I just want a laptop with this kind of screen.

No rapidly changing video though (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43725673)

Would like to know what the refresh rate would go up to - looks like it has limitations or the video would have shown fast-changing graphics. (The ticking clock was the only moving image)

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