A leading brand in digital signage, or electronic ink, E Ink is currently the world’s largest supplier of electronic displays to the eReader market. The Kindle Paperwhite, an e-book reader from Amazon, uses the electrophoretic ink technology from this innovative company. It can be said that Amazon is E Ink’s largest client and source of revenue. However, since electronic paper applications are still in their early innovation stages, the Amazon Kindle Paperwhite series is its only stable source of revenue. Once there is a drop in the sales of e-book readers, the company’s revenue will be negatively impacted.
In order to stabilize its profit, E Ink has been continuously investing in new applications for electrophoretic ink. During this year’s Computex, the company specifically displayed products different than traditional electronic readers, such as a smartwatch, smartphone, and other uniquely designed products.
Aside from its collaboration with the Amazon Kindle Paperwhite series, electrophoretic ink can also be used in other readers, smartphones, and smartwatches. Although this type of display is not as “flashy” as traditional smartphone displays, it allows users to read even in direct sunlight and has ultra-low power consumption. Hence, there are definitely products to look forward to.
▲ The image of the e-paper display on the back can be configured from the traditional cellphone display. Reportedly, the second generation of this phone will be able to simultaneously display the same images on the front and back. Users who enjoy reading from an e-book reader can use their phone and read on the reverse side to avoid any strains to the eye.
Despite having Amazon as a client, electronic readers have not yet become a steady commodity, which in turn affects the company’s profit. E Ink is still finding ways to collaborate with new companies to develop new products. High hopes are held for E Ink to break through its current limitations and lead electrophoretic technology into a world of new applications.
In the fourth quarter of 2013, E Ink had a sales revenue of NTD$5.86 billion and a net profit of $1.09 billion. However, during the fourth quarter of 2014, sales revenue decreased to $2.96 billion, a net loss of $965 million. There is a chance that Amazon will come out with its third generation Kindle Paperwhite which is expected to enhance E Ink’s profitability once again.