E Ink grabs majority share in SiPix for e-paper dominance

E Ink is grabbing a majority share of fellow e-paper maker SiPix Technology, the company has confirmed, and aims to snatch up 100-percent of shares in a deal worth around $50m. The agreement, which his expected to be  finalized by the end of the year, is part of E Ink's aim to corner the e-paper market, and will see SiPix tech – including that of its SiPix Imagine subsidiary – integrated into future E Ink products.

E Ink is already found in the vast majority of ereaders, including the Kindle, NOOK, Sony Reader and more. However, that market has seen significant attack from the growing number of tablets such as Apple's iPad, Amazon's Kindle Fire and the new Google Nexus 7, with LCD displays proving more flexible for multimedia beyond text alone.

"Today, E Ink's products are finding homes in a number of new applications which can be better served with the inclusion of SiPix's products, technologies and intellectual property to our portfolio" Felix Ho, vice chairman of E Ink said of today's deal. The company will initially include SiPix displays in the overall range it offers, but plans to integrate more of the behind-the-scenes technology – perhaps including slow video-capable e-paper - into future products.

That could also mean more use of e-paper in embedded environments, with E Ink keen to emphasize the low power consumption of its panels as ideal for its "E Ink On Every Smart Surface" strategy. Possibilities include tablet cases – such as Apple's recent display-integrated Smart Cover concept - and other implementation where power supply could be insufficient or impractical for LCD or OLED.

Initially, E Ink will buy 82.7-percent of SiPix's shares, though the goal is to buy 100-percent.