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Amazon snaps up 'electrowetting' display firm from Samsung

Amazon has reached a deal with Samsung to acquire "electrowetting" display maker Liquavista, the online retail giant has revealed.

The terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Liquavista uses a technology called electrowetting to develop colour displays for e-readers and portable media players. The first commercially available electrowetting display panels are expected to arrive this year, according to the Digital Reader.

"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," an Amazon spokesperson explained. "It's still early days, but we're excited about the possibilities and we look forward to working with Liquavista to develop these displays."

Electrowetting produces displays with advantages in a couple of key areas—viewability in various lighting conditions and low-power video playback. Amazon, a leading maker of both ereaders and tablets, may be interested in Liquavista's technology for both device categories.

"Liquavista's display cell concepts allow radically brighter and more efficient flat panel displays to be built – but use today's established manufacturing infrastructure and processes to achieve it," Liquavista says on its website.

Liquavista was spun off from Dutch electronics giant Philips in 2006 and acquired by Samsung in December 2010. The Liquavista team has worked closely with Texas Instruments to develop electrowetting displays for devices powered by TI's OMAP processors, according to reports.

Amazon's new acquisition has also been working on flexible display technology, according to Liquavista.