After recently calling for a massive European Union boost to nanotechnology research, Nokia (NYSE: NOK ) has reinforced the view that Europe is falling behind the nano curve by choosing an American company to supply its next-generation display technology.
Nokia has chosen Kopin (Nasdaq: KOPN ) to supply the displays for Nokia's new picture-viewing and storage device, Kaleidoscope I. Kopin, based in Massachusetts, is the maker of CyberDisplay, which incorporates its proprietary technology of nanopockets.
Kopin's recent push to promote itself as "the NanoSemiconductor company" has paid off after landing the plum account with Nokia and, in so doing, reduces the firm's dependency on Samsung and Panasonic, which use CyberDisplay in their camcorders.
Kaleidoscope I is the digital version of your family's snapshots in your old leather wallet. With 150 million camera phones expected to be sold in 2004, coupled with a 53% compound annual growth rate, more and more people are snapping away with their phones to capture those perfect moments. Now, Nokia allows you to download them to an easy viewer small enough to carry in your pocket. With Kaleidoscope I, you can display 24 digital images. No more fingerprinted and dog-eared prints to pull from your wallet.
Kaleidoscope I can also save the images to your computer, so you can easily add new images to carry around with you while preserving your old ones in digital photo albums on your PC.
This should boost Kopin's revenues depending on how many consumers take another step up the digital ladder and replace the photos from their wallets and fork over the $300 or so to buy the Kaleidoscope I.
Although Kopin's revenues have risen nearly 20% so far this year, the company's loss has also increased because of increased R&D expense. Kopin's share price has fallen from a 52-week high of more than $9 to the current levels of $4. If that increased R&D has helped to secure the contract with Nokia, then the price dip is a short-term reaction.
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Fool contributors Carl Wherrett owns Nokia and a Nokia camera phone, but he doesn't own Kopin shares. John Yelovich has a mobile phone, but he's unsure if he can take pictures with it. He does own Nokia shares. You can reach them by email.