E-ink announced today that they were investing a total of $1.5 billion Taiwan dollars in Chunghwa Picture Tubes, one of their business partners. The investment comes as unsecured convertible bonds, and it's due to be paid off over the next 3 years.
The funds will be used to expand production of FFS screens. This screen tech, developed by E-ink sub Hydis, is used in a number of high end tablets including the NookColor (and probably the Amazon tablet, assuming it exists). Increased production will give E-ink a greater market share in the tablet screen market and it's expected to result in an integrated supply chain.
They'll also use the funds to produce more epaper screens, which is now being called "dual pigment" technology (black and white). The only reason I point that out is that it clearly indicates E-ink are focusing on the color E-ink screens, which will use 4 pigments, not 2. That's a sign that they want to push forward with the color screen production and (hopefully) get it on the market.
I wonder how this will affect CPT's other relationships? They also produce screens for E-ink's competitors, most notably Pixel Qi. CPT have been a manufacturing partner for Pixel Qi since at least December.
Well, I bet I can tell you one way this deal affected everyone. E-ink didn't buy any stock in the company; they just loaned CPT money. I don't think they wanted to do an unsecured loan, but that may have been the only way to tranfer the funds without upsetting the rest of CPT's business partners.
Update: Display Daily investigated further, and they reported that "CPT will produce EPD backplanes and FFS panels for EIH. Production of 10.1-inch FFS panels will begin in August and production of 7-inch versions will begin in September at CPT’s Gen 6 plant, reported Chen and Hwang. If all goes according to plant EIH will account for 15 to 20% of the plant’s capacity this year, with the percentage rising to more than 30% in 2012."
So we're going to see 10" screens simialr to the NookColor? Nice
image by Biczzz