Amazon To Buy Touchscreen Company, Prepares Improve Kindle Reader

In a bid to take on the iPad in the e-reader sector, Amazon has reportedly snapped up a New York-based touchscreen start-up to spice up its Kindle electronic reader device, the New York Times reported.

The newspaper is reporting that the online retailing giant has acquired a touchscreen specialist firm, ‘Touchco’, for an undisclosed sum. Touchco’s staff will soon be joining the Amazon Kindle hardware division, better known as ‘Lab 126’, in California, the newspaper reported.

Touchco was established by a group of computer scientists from the New York University’s Media Research Lab to design cost-effective, power-efficient multitouch displays with an innovative technology named interpolating force-sensitive resistance (IFSR).

The screens can be employed on a slew of devices including e-readers, and would cost as low as $10 per square foot. The technology is much cheaper than those in Apple products, and is also sensitive to variable pressure levels, the report added.

A note on the Touchco’s website reads: “Thank you for your interest in Touchco. As of January 2010, the company is no longer doing business”.

After the launch of iPad in January, Amazon noted that its “customers can read and sync their Kindle books on iPhones, iPod touches, PCs, and soon Blackberrys, Macs, and iPads. Kindle is purpose-built for reading”.

Our Comments

This is intriguing news and could potentially mean much bigger screens coming up soon. But adding touchscreen capabilities won't make of the Kindle a winner overnight. It needs to beef up its offerings if it wants to succeed. That said, maybe Amazon has other plans.

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