SMART Technologies Acquires NextWindow
On April 25th, SMART Technologies, leading provider of interactive white boards, announced the acquisition of NextWindow, a leading designer and manufacturer of optical touch technology. SMART Technologies currently focuses on the education, business and government sectors. With this acquisition, SMART Technologies gets access to the consumer market as NextWindow manufactures sensors and overlays from 15 to 120 inches. Both companies have extensive patent portfolios for optical touch technology.
I personally wonder if this combination of forces is a way to counteract the Asian optical touchscreen manufacturers popping up in Taiwan and China. Multiple companies have introduced multi-touch LCDs for the consumer market in the past year, capitalizing on the success of Apple's iPhone and iPad: Planar's PX2230MW, HP's L2105tm, Dell's SX2210, and Acer's T230H. None of them mention who the optical touchscreen manufacturer is. It'll be interesting to watch SMART Technologies' next steps.