Amazon has acquired New York-based startup Touchco, according to Nick Bilton at the New York Times.
Touchco specialises in touch-screen technologies. It has a six person staff and has not produced a commercial product yet.
The Touchco team will be sent to California where Amazon’s Kindle team operates, says Nick.
E-Ink technology wouldn’t allow for touchscreens, so this indicates Amazon is thinking about producing a Kindle with a full colour screen to rival the iPad.
There are no financial terms being reported. Here’s Nick’s explanation of Touchco’s technology:
Touchco uses a technology called interpolating force-sensitive resistance, which it puts into displays that can be completely transparent and could cost as little as $10 a square foot. The capacitive touch screens used in the iPad and iPhone are considerably more expensive. Unlike those screens, the Touchco screens can also detect an unlimited number of simultaneous touch points.
Touchco’s technology uses resistors that are sensitive to different levels of pressure. It has said its screens can distinguish between the touch of a finger and the pressure of a pen or similar pointing device. The company had designed its technology to work well with full-colour LCD screens, similar to those used in the iPad and Hewlett-Packard’s coming line of tablet PCs. The technology could allow Amazon to introduce a full-colour touch-screen Kindle, raising the question of whether the device’s current displays, which are made by a company called E Ink will play a role in the next round of reading devices.