Philips launches electrowetting display startup

Philips Electronics and New Venture Partners have formed a new company to commercialize electrowetting display technology.

Dutch electronics giant Koninklijke Philips Electronics and New Venture Partners have formed a new company, Liquavista, to commercialize electrowetting display technology, the companies said Wednesday.

Electrowetting technology can be used to make displays that are extremely bright and energy-efficient -- two critical features for portable devices, such as mobile phones, MP3 players and cameras. It uses electronic currents to manipulate colored oil and water in a tiny cell to create full-color displays that are six times brighter than an LCD (liquid crystal display).

The technology's manufacturing processes are highly compatible with those of LCD, enabling Liquavista to bring its products to market quickly, the companies said.

The creation of Liquavista results from an initiative between Philips and New Venture Partners to create independent businesses based on technology developed in the Dutch manufacturer's labs.

New Venture Partners was launched in 1997 as a venture capital arm of Lucent Technologies to commercialize technology from its Bell Labs unit. Since then, the venture capital company has expanded its customer base to include BT Group and Philips.

The team of Liquavista, which will be located in Einhoven, Netherlands, includes Rob Hayes and Johan Feenstra, who co-invented electrowetting displays.

The company will demonstrate its display technology at the Exhibition of the Society for Information Display 2006 in San Francisco from June 6 to June 8.

Additional information about electrowetting technology is available at: http://www.research.philips.com/technologies/display/electrowetdisp/downloads/electrowetting.pdf.

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John Blau

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