Sharp might be better known for making televisions and other home entertainment electronics than for their mobile product business, but they have made some smartphones with almost a bezel-less design on their front. Some of these phones feature an IGZO display, which made these designs possible and they have advantages like higher sensitivity and less battery consumption. The company has invested a lot of resources in this technology, this year they even introduced a 5.5-inch 4K IGZO display. As you may know, there’s a report that suggests that Samsung could reduce the prices of their small to medium-sized AMOLED panels, making them cost only a little more than LCD displays, so more companies are expected to integrate this kind of panels in their products. But Sharp will introduce a new generation of IGZO panels to better compete with other technologies.
The new Super IGZO panels use an improved version of their oxide semiconductors, and these displays will offer a higher resolution while consuming 10% to 20% less energy than regular IGZO panels, which is quite impressive, as a regular IGZO screen already consumes a fifth of the energy of a regular LCD display. Sharp could start the production of these new displays as soon as early 2016 and they will be manufactured at the company’s Kameyama Plant No. 2 located in Mie Prefecture. Some television panels are built in that plant, but Sharp will stop manufacturing them as they turned out unprofitable.
Sharp’s goal for the Super IGZO panels is quite ambitious, as they want to sell over 50 billion yen (about $403 million) each year before 2020 ends. Since their LCD business is supposed to take a hit next year, the company might consider a restructure. Apple has used Sharp displays in the past, and they even considered using an IGZO panel for their iPads, but that didn’t materialize. It has been rumored that Apple could switch to AMOLED panels in a couple of years, but perhaps Sharp could show them and other companies the benefits of their new Super IGZO panels and if they price them right, maybe we will see them integrated into more devices.