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Sharp and Qualcomm Partner to Create a New Kind of Display Called IGZO-MEMS

October 6, 2014 - Written By Nick Sutrich

Sharp and Qualcomm have partnered up to bring a brand new display tech to the mobile industry that’s set to turn how we think of displays on its head.  The new display, IGZO-MEMS, is a combination of IGZO and MEMS display types, and brings the best of both worlds to display tech.  If you’re not familiar with either of these particular display types don’t worry, it’s not just you.  MEMS, also known as Mirasol, has so far only been used in Qualcomm’s TOQ Smartwatch because of how it works.  MEMS is a very battery friendly tech that can be equated to something very similar to E-Ink and doesn’t feature any kind of backlight, rather uses ambient light and reflective qualities to light up the display instead.

Meanwhile Sharp’s IGZO technology is supposed to be a direct competitor to LCD and represents the company’s vision for how a full-color back-lit display should look.  IGZO pushes a couple of boundaries in display technology and promises not only higher resolution, but incredibly accurate color reproduction, faster refresh rates and more power efficiency than LCD.  Sharp has been working on this technology for years, and now it looks like Sharp and Qualcomm are going to be creating a brand new hybrid display that combines the best of both worlds.

IGZO-MEMS isn’t exactly a catchy term by any means, but it literally combines the black-and-white display of MEMS for great outdoor reading and easy-on-the-eyes long-term reading of books and the like, with the efficiency and full color spectrum of IGZO displays.  Right now it looks like this new display type will make its debut in a brand new 7-inch tablet by Sharp near the beginning of 2015 and will feature 1280 x 800 WXGA resolution.  In addition to this the tablet will be IPX7 water resistant, have LTE connectivity, run at least Android 4.4 KitKat and feature a Snapdragon 800 processor.  While most of these components will be decidedly mid-range at that point, the display is the most exciting thing about it, and it could be an incredible smaller tablet for those who love to read and spend lots of time outdoors.