Sony Semiconductor Solutions has teamed up with the company behind E Ink display technology to build a joint venture with the intention of creating and operating a business focused on electronic paper display technology. E Ink has been used in a good number of e-readers over the years, and even a few smartphones and tablets, but this deal points to the displays being manufactured on a more massive scale than ever before, and the two companies working together to create products that utilize them. This turn of events could lead to a significantly higher number of battery-powered E Ink displays hitting the market in the near future.
Sony apparently has high hopes for the project, with Sony Semiconductor Solutions having already thrown committed 420 million NTD, which translated to approximately $13.7 million. While that may not sound like much given the potential scale of the deal, it's more than enough to finance at least one new factory, i.e. buy land, materials, and pay for labor with the goal of manufacturing E Ink display panels and consumer electronics utilizing them. According to Sony's press release on the matter, the portion that they've invested into the joint venture amounts to around 70 percent of its budget, and the remainder will be paid by investors. The presidents of both Sony Semiconductor Solutions and E Ink Holdings will be serving as chairmen on the board of directors assigned to the project.
Sony has been collaborating with E Ink on E Paper technology for over a decade now, and the two have been working quite closely during that period. More recently, a new smartwatch was announced by Sony, boasting a twin E Ink display panel. The technology has slowly been making its way out of the e-reader segment in the past few years, most famously in the YotaPhone lineup which boasts dual displays – one LCD and one E Ink. Sony's press release did not detail exactly what products will be coming out of the partnership, but with Sony having a hand in smartphones, TVs, and game consoles and having recently exited the laptop business, some educated guesses can certainly be made.