Friday, October 17, 2008

Liquavista debuts brighter, greener displays


First we had CRT displays, then LCDs, and now LEDs and OLEDs are making headway, but already an even newer display technology promises brighter, clearer screens that use even less power. It’s called electrowetting, and startup Liquavista has unveiled its new ColorBright displays today which use the technology.

The ColorBright line is Liquavista’s first display platform and is targeted for use in watches and cell phones. Liquavista has bigger plans for the technology and says it will provide rich, colorful video displays, legible in direct sunlight and low in power needs. The company claims its technology can provide “TV-like picture quality” at a fraction of the manufacturing and power costs of traditional displays. The company has recently opened a new fab line in Southern China at an existing LCD manufacturing plant and will start making custom and stock displays in volume soon.

Screens are the biggest culprit when it comes to zapping your phone’s battery. The backlight on LCDs accounts for much of the power consumption but Liquavista’s displays saves energy by forgoing the backlight. As we continue to do more display-intensive things with our phones — like watching video — we’ll need displays that consume less power, as anyone struggling with their smartphone’s battery life will tell you.

The two-year-old company uses electrowetting technology developed at the Philips Research Labs. Check out the concept video to get an idea of where Liquavista wants to take their technology and if you’re a DIYer go ahead and play around with the Liquadizer to build your own next-gen display.

Liquavista raised €8 million (at the time, $12.6 million) in Series B funding earlier this year from Amadeus Capital Partners, GIMV and New Venture Partners LLC. Electronics giant Philips is also a backer of the startup. Both Liquavista and Philips are headquartered in the Netherlands.

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