SiPix Imaging Inc (鑼洤), an electronic paper subsidiary of the world’s No. 3 panel maker, AU Optronics Corp (友達光電), yesterday said it would ship a small volume of color e-paper displays in the second half of next year, ahead of most rivals.
The first color e-paper displays are expected to be used in electronic readers, magazines and newspapers, company president Andrew Tseng (曾旭文) told reporters on the sidelines of a workshop held by market researcher Topology Research Institute (拓墣產業研究所).
Like most of its competitors, SiPix currently only offers black-and-white e-paper displays, produced in the US.
“Making colored electronic paper displays is our top priority,” Tseng said. “We are in talks with customers to supply colored displays ... as [color] would encourage advertisers to place ads on [electronic] publications, which then would be able to provide more content [to readers] for free.”
After a breakthrough by AU Optronics in thin-film-transistor panels, SiPix expects to produce color displays next year, Tseng said, while rivals such as Prime View International Co (元太科技) may take two or three years to achieve the same goal.
Prime View is the world’s biggest supplier of e-paper display modules, with Amazon.com, Inc and Sony Corp among its customers.
Prime View makes e-paper displays using technology from E Ink Corp, which Prime View plans to acquire by the end of the year.
AU Optronics is scheduled to ship its first e-paper display modules to customers this quarter.
As a result of rising demand, SiPix chairman Liu Chun-ting (劉軍廷) last week said the company would boost production at its US plant next quarter and build a factory in Taiwan in the first half of next year.
“We are trying to increase capacity as much as possible, [to cope with demand],” Tseng said.
The e-paper market is expected to grow to US$832 million in 2012 in terms of revenue, up from US$2 million this year, Topology’s figures showed.