Samsung buys colour electrowetting upstart Liquavista

Samsung Electronics is making a buy in the LCD sector.

It has splashed out on Liquavista, a company that may have come up with a new way to create LCD screens through a technique called “electrowetting”. Besides sounding like a dubious Berlin nightclub, it also allows for bright, colourful and easy-to-read displays in any light environment while using minimal energy.

Liquavista, a spin-off from Phillips Research Labs, says that Electrowetting – which can be applied to e-readers, mobile phones, media players and other mobile devices – could eventually replace the traditional LCD screens.

Currently the most well known electrowetting technology company on the market today is E-Ink, whose displays are used in the Amazon Kindle. LG Display, which supplies panels for Sony’s Sony Reader, is also in a partnership with the company.

However, the researchers have so far hit a brick wall when trying to apply electrowetting to colour screens.  

Liquavista, a smaller company to E Ink, thinks it has cracked the colour crisis. It claims to have created a colour display that uses 10 percent of the power of current LCD panels while doubling the transmittance.

In a statement Samsung said: “With the acquisition of Liquavista, Samsung aims to strengthen its leadership in (the) next-generation display industry by pioneering the application of electrowetting in e-paper and transparent displays.”

It would not disclose the amount paid.