Freescale and e-Ink have both played a pivotal role for the entire e-reader revolution. E-Paper and the processors that power them have run in tandem from the very first Sony e-Reader to the modern day Kindle Voyage. The future of e-readers may be in doubt when news broke today that Freescale has been purchased by NXP Semiconductor.
The deal will likely close by the middle of the year and the two forces will be a force to reckoned with. According to Reuters “The transaction is the clearest sign yet that semiconductor companies are regaining the confidence required to pursue big mergers and acquisitions at a time when their major clients, such as mobile phone manufacturers, seek to consolidate suppliers.”
Freescale a former division of Motorola and makes chips for automotive, consumer, industrial and networking markets. In only the last few days the company announced their new S32V microcontroller to process sensor data to enable driver-assist features.
Will Freescale continue to support the e-readers of their world once they are formally acquired? There is minimal competition in the e-reader space and only Rockchip lightly competes, and primarily targets the extreme budget end of the spectrum. I think Freescale is critical to the evolutionary growth of e-readers. A future without Freescale developing controller chips with support for e-ink display panel is horrifying to envision.
Michael Kozlowski has written about audiobooks and e-readers for the past twelve years. Newspapers and websites such as the CBC, CNET, Engadget, Huffington Post and the New York Times have picked up his articles. He Lives in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.