updated 12:20 pm EDT, Fri April 13, 2012
Sharp IGZO display tech in production
Sharp stated Friday that it was producing the first-ever IGZO (indium gallium zinc oxide) LCDs. Its repurposed Kameyama plant is rolling out panels primarily for smartphones and tablets. As examples, it cited a seven-inch, 1280x800 display for tablets, a 10-inch 2560x1600 display, and a large 32-inch, 3840x2160 desktop display.
The panels weren't necessarily the only ones being produced. Sharp was hoping to promote use in notebook PCs and desktop displays.
IGZO may be considered vital to future displays as resolution goes up and pressure exists to slim devices further. The choice of materials allows for smaller TFTs and more illumination through each pixel, both improving the size efficiency and reducing the need for a strong backlight. Much of the reason for the new iPad's much larger battery and thicker profile comes from needing extra LED backlighting to maintain the 2048x1536 display's brightness despite four times the resolution of its ancestor.
Sharp hasn't named any customers, apart from likely future projects of its own. However, Apple has routinely been linked to Sharp and its IGZO displays in particular. The American firm is believed to already be sourcing some of its regular displays from Sharp and would see its focus on very high-resolution displays given a major assist. Future iPads, iPhones, and possibly Macs could get very dense LCDs without having to consume extra battery power or grow thicker.
Apple has alluded to a heavy technology investment that some have associated with displays. The company is rumored to have put as much as $1 billion into Sharp that may have been to get a ready source of displays. [via PC World]