Sharp's display arm has announced its latest answer to rival Samsung's popular AMOLED technology: small-scale LCD panels constructed using InGaZnO semiconductor technology.
InGaZnO - chemistry gobbledegook for 'indium gallium zinc oxide' - is considered by many in the industry to be the next big thing in display technology, allowing for the creation of thin-film transistor displays with increased brightness and decreased power draw over traditional semiconductor materials.
Sharp's new InGaZnO panels, designed for use in small form factor devices such as smartphones and tablets, are the first to successfully commercialise the new material, which the company claims improves the light transmittance for each pixel and decreases the size of the transistors required.
The upshot, Sharp claims, is a display that offers increased clarity and a lowered power draw, while fitting in a thinner form factor than traditional TFT displays. Combined with the company's eighth-generation glass substrates and Sharp's UV²A ultra-violet alignment technology, the InGaZnO panels should give the next generation of smartphones significantly improved display quality with reduced battery consumption.
As anyone who has had the pleasure of using a smartphone with an organic light-emitting diode display, such as Samsung's popular Super-AMOLED range, will attest, OLED technology currently offers a far more impressive image than LCD. While colour reproduction can sometimes be a trifle off, with lower-quality OLED displays suffering badly from banding in gradients, black levels and brightness are both vastly improved over traditional displays.
Sharp's new InGaZnO technology could level the playing field - which is good news for both manufacturers of smartphones and tablets, and consumers thereof.
A Sharp spokesperson has confirmed that mass production of the new displays is expected to start at the company's Kameyama Plant before the end of the year, but was unable to advise on how much of a premium the panels will fetch over traditional TFT technologies.