Confirmed: Amazon Bought Liquavista – Color Kindle to Follow?

liquavista 1For the past four months I have been saying that Amazon was in the market to buy Samsung’s screen tech company Liquavista, and today I do believe the rumors have come true.

New filings from the Netherlands Chamber of Commerce reveal that Samsung no longer owns Liquavista. As of 29 April, the new owner is listed as a faceless LLC registered out of Delaware.

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That company, Haverl LLC, has no presence online or products on the market. In fact, the only noteworthy detail that I have found is that Haverl LLC leads to a holding company called CSC.

This pattern of a faceless LLC leading to a holding company should be familiar; it’s the same trick that Amazon used to hide their FCC filings last year.

Update: Amazon has confirmed the news:

We are always looking for new technologies we may be able to incorporate into our products over the long term. The Liquavista team shares our passion for invention and is creating exciting new technologies with a lot of potential. It’s still early days, but we’re excited about the possibilities and we look forward to working with Liquavista to develop these displays.

This deal hasn’t been announced just yet by any of the parties involved, so I don’t have any info on the price paid. But past rumors indicated that Samsung was willing to sell Liquavista for under $100 million. That is probably less than Samsung has invested in the company since buying it in early 2011, but even if they took a loss this is a good deal for Samsung.

Samsung’s hottest gadgetry at the moment are their smartphones and tablets. Those devices have to stay ahead of a tight market, so they use cutting-edge high quality and high resolution screens. It’s been pretty clear for a while now that Liquavista’s electrowetting screen tech won’t be able to achieve the same high quality as the screens that Samsung is using now, so it makes sense that Samsung would want to cut their losses.

liquavista 2

Liquavista got its start way back when battery life was still a serious issue for mobile devices.  This was one of a number of screen technologies that traded screen quality for battery life, but now that battery life is not such a serious problem for most devices there isn’t really much of a market for Liquavista’s screens.

The only market left for Liquavista screens is the ereader market, and I’m pretty sure that is why Amazon bought Liquavista.

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25 thoughts on “Confirmed: Amazon Bought Liquavista – Color Kindle to Follow?

  1. Confirmed?
    Kudos for good tea leaf reading!

    So, how are you on tracking hoofprints over rocky terrain.
    I hear there is a presumed-dead Texas ranger looking for a sidekick…

  2. How is battery life not a concern anymore? Only if you don’t use the device that much. If it’s constantly in use then almost all current smartphones and tablets will run out of juice in a day, less if you use them for games. And if you check battery usage the majority goes to the screen.
    Here’s hoping for better battery tech or better screen tech so we can have LCD screen quality with E-ink battery life.

    1. 5 years ago it was not uncommon for some mobile devices to only have 3 hours of battery life. Now we expect our gadgets to run all day.

      And part of the reason that current smartphones run out of power before the end of the day is aesthetics, not hardware. Batteries are shrunk to fit in a thinner phone.

      1. 5 years ago my b/w nokia lasted an entire week. My Samsung smartphone with a twice as big battery doesn’t even last a day. I’d love to have a phone with a liquavista display even if it can’t display video. Tablets and tvs are better suited for that anyway.

    2. That’s exactly what I thought when I read that. Yes, battery life is still a huge concern. My Rezound barely can make it through a single day with only moderate use and 50% screen brightness.

      We’ll see if it leads to any interesting new tablets or ereaders.

  3. afaik the company has been around since 2006 while not a single display has gone beyond proof of concept and I cant say I am impressed with the prototypes.
    so…dont get too excited just now…

  4. Finally Amazon! This has been long overdue. I would have wanted Samsung to develop a Liquavista color eReader but no appearance at CES 2013 after announcing late 2012 that they will be manufacturing Liquavista displays meant that they were shelving the project. That being said, Samsung should have just licensed the technology just like Mirasol did.

    Triton 2 was disappointing and so was Mirasol. Amazon wanted ePaper displays that has fast refresh rates for video without sacrificing too much battery life and Liquavista is it! Amazon bought Liquavista so their competitors can’t get a hand of the tech. B&N, Sony and Kobo will have to use Gamma Dynamics’ EFD tech to compete.

    http://spectrum.ieee.org/consumer-electronics/portable-devices/lighter-brighter-displays

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