Sharp to produce smartphone screens in TV production plant

October 18, 2013
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One of the signs of growing demand for smartphones and mobile devices is when electronics manufacturers start reallocating resources to the production of smartphone components. Such seems to be the case with Sharp who will be producing smartphones screens in a plant that's originally designed to make large TV displays.

Sharp has put out several Android smartphones but isn't considered one of the big players. Its biggest market is LCD TVs and even there the company has been struggling to make a profit in the face of decreasing LCD TV demands. Its next big bet is to use its technology and resources in order to produce smartphone displays for two of the biggest players in the mobile device industry: Apple and Samsung. And, indeed, it might have an edge over its competitors.

Sharp's ace in the sleeve is IGZO, or indium gallium zinc oxide, the special material that it uses to create LCDs that have already been used across a myriad of consumer electronics, including its own and other manufacturers' smartphones and tablets. IGZO's selling factor is its power-saving feature since it does not need to be refreshed as much as regular LCDs to prevent flickering. According to the company, the technology results in two times longer battery life as well as higher touch sensitivity for smartphones and tablets. Those are definitely two features that no smartphone manufacturer can ignore.

Using its Kameyama no. 2 TV plant in Japan, Sharp plans on producing large sheets of 8th generation glass substrates measuring 8.53 ft x 8.07 ft. From these sheets it will cut out the smaller smartphone displays, allowing it to churn out more of its IGZO LCD screens faster in order to outdo the competition, particularly Japan Display Inc.'s WhiteMagic LCDs that are supplied to Amazon and Google.

SOURCE: The Wall Street Journal


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