Amazon acquires touch-screen maker for future Kindle project

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2014
Amazon has purchased touch-screen startup Touchco, with plans to incorporate it into the Kindle's hardware division.



The New York Times reports that Amazon has acquired New York-based Touchco, a small start-up specializing in touchscreen technology. The company's interpolating force-sensitive resistance technology allows for flexible, transparent, pressure-sensitive touch-screens that could cost as little as $10 a square foot.



As a comparison, the capitative touch-screens in the iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad are more expensive and cannot detect the unlimited amount of simultaneous touch points that Touchco's technology allows.



Touchco's technology can reportedly distinguish between the differing pressures produced by a finger or stylus.



According to the Times, Touchco consists of around six employees and Amazon plans on incorporating both the new personnel and technology into its Kindle hardware division, named Lab126, which is located in Cupertino, Calif. - also home to Apple.



Apple's introduction of the iPad in January has already had an effect on Amazon's Kindle. Two major publishers have used Apple's content deals as leverage to negotiate new pricing agreements with the bookseller.



When Apple introduced the iPad last week, it also unveiled the new iBooks application for reading e-books. The software includes the iBookstore, which allows users to purchase content that will be displayed on their virtual bookshelf. Apple announced deals with five major book partners, including Macmillan and HarperCollins.



Amazon's purchase of Touchco can be thought of as a direct response to Apple's iPad, and the technology acquired could be included in the next iteration of its Kindle e-reader.



The Times writes, "Amazon has been looking to compete with Apple on other fronts as well. Last month, it announced plans for a Kindle applications store and an effort to get developers to create the same breadth of programs for the Kindle that they have created for the iPhone and, soon, the iPad."
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 73
    Wow.



    That's seems like the type of technology that Apple would have bought up pretty quickly, unless they already have similar technology at their disposal that they haven't shown yet in their products.
  • Reply 2 of 73
    filburtfilburt Posts: 398member
    Sounds good and much needed for Kindle to survive. But does an eBook reader need unlimited touch points? I suppose low cost is a big draw here, assuming it works as well without fuzzing out the display like Sony's touch-based eBook readers do.
  • Reply 3 of 73
    quinneyquinney Posts: 2,528member
    So those six employees are going to move from New York to Cupertino and work for....Amazon?

    For Amazon's sake, they better have some strong incentives for those people to stay in their current jobs.
  • Reply 4 of 73
    intenseintense Posts: 106member
    That is so interesting ... can't wait to see what amazon has in store
  • Reply 5 of 73
    Hahahahahaha!
  • Reply 6 of 73
    luisoluiso Posts: 10member
    I think someone is afraid.
  • Reply 7 of 73
    tundraboytundraboy Posts: 1,797member
    I call this throwing good money after bad. This is just complete and utter folly for Amazon to think that they can compete against Apple in hardware.
  • Reply 8 of 73
    eriamjheriamjh Posts: 1,351member
    Who says Apple's touch screen cannot detect unlimited touch points? We only have 10 fingers!
  • Reply 9 of 73
    citycity Posts: 522member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by quinney View Post


    So those six employees are going to move from New York to Cupertino and work for....Amazon?

    For Amazon's sake, they better have some strong incentives for those people to stay in their current jobs.



    Consider the weather. It's currently sunny and in the 60ºs.
  • Reply 10 of 73
    bageljoeybageljoey Posts: 1,946member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by tundraboy View Post


    I call this throwing good money after bad. This is just complete and utter folly for Amazon to think that they can compete against Apple in hardware.



    Maybe true, maybe not. But the technology sounds interesting and could lead to all sorts of posibilities if it is really viable. I'm all for it if it has the possibility to move us forward.



    Besides, I believe Amazon is showing that they understand the future of the game--if they did not make a play for the hardware, they would have *nothing* when competitors like Apple came out with snazzy devices like the iPad linked directly to their iBook store.



    I don't think it is a done deal that Apple has this market sewed up in the future, but it would be much more likely if all Amazon had was apps on everyone else's hardware....



    I give Amazon credit for the push they are making (even if the idea of a Kindle apps store competing seriously with Apple's app store is ludicrous).
  • Reply 11 of 73
    jetlawjetlaw Posts: 156member
    All the touch points in the world won't overcome poor implementation. If there is anything that Apple has proven it is that content is king. Based on the McMillan episode, I fear for the Kindle. Amazon found there success by being in the BOOK business, not the reader business.
  • Reply 12 of 73
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by GregoriusM View Post


    Wow.



    That's seems like the type of technology that Apple would have bought up pretty quickly, unless they already have similar technology at their disposal that they haven't shown yet in their products.



    The Newton used a resistive touch screen. I hope the Touchco folks have really improved it. I'd still be using my Newton if the resistive touch screen hadn't worn out.



    As you can imagine, I'm looking forward to an iPad. To bad it won't have handwriting recognition :-)
  • Reply 13 of 73
    ...and so began the book wars



    lol just wanted to say that, sounds like awesome technology but its gonna die before it even gets out if apple has enough ipads out before amazon even announces a device with this technology, way I see it amazon doesnt have a fighting chance against app/book/itunes stores on the device plus all the extra features such as safari etc etc, only way to fight back is really really really competitive pricing



    same reason that people who buy a new computer buy a pc vs a mac 90% of the time its because the pc is cheaper, not based on features or aethetics(probably mispelled), only way people would prefer such an implementation would have to be undianiably better pricing, im talking 10 inch 200-300 with the touch screen, only way i see amazon winning this one coming from behind
  • Reply 14 of 73
    bedouinbedouin Posts: 331member
    No one was even talking about the Kindle until the iPad was announced. It has existed for a couple years now but it's already seen as the cheap iPad rip off to many
  • Reply 15 of 73
    aaarrrggghaaarrrgggh Posts: 1,608member
    Amazon has operations in CA?! How can they not charge sales tax here then?
  • Reply 16 of 73
    paxmanpaxman Posts: 4,683member
    I know lots of people love the idea of a stylus but I think it's bygone technology. Multitouch is very cool but can get overly complicated (like a five or seven button mouse), so I see little value in the ability to use limitless touch points.
  • Reply 17 of 73
    quinneyquinney Posts: 2,528member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by city View Post


    Consider the weather. It's currently sunny and in the 60ºs.



    I like the weather too. My point was that if a person with expertise in touch interface hardware was going to move across the country, they might prefer to work for a company with great potential for professional advancement and longevity in the chosen field, rather than a company for which building hardware is a minor part of the business with a questionable future.
  • Reply 18 of 73
    thrangthrang Posts: 907member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by GregoriusM View Post


    Wow.



    That's seems like the type of technology that Apple would have bought up pretty quickly, unless they already have similar technology at their disposal that they haven't shown yet in their products.



    Quite likely Apple sniffed, passed, and is already years into developing the next generation of touch technology



    On the other hand, this seems awfully late for Amazon to be thinking about this...
  • Reply 19 of 73
    Is it the number of addressable points or the touch resistance technology that is of more interest?
  • Reply 20 of 73
    *cough* grasping at straws *cough*
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