Sharp launches a 32-inch Retina monitor that cries for an Apple HD TV

Sharp, the struggling Japanese consumer electronics maker, is finally taking its low-power IGZO (indium gallium zinc oxide) panels off the ground, announcing Wednesday a 32-inch monitor built around this proprietary display tech. And with 4K resolution of 3,840-by-2,160 pixels, it’s a marvel of cutting-edge display engineering.

That’s four times the pixels of the current full HD standard which maxes out at 1,920-by-1,080 pixels. In addition to low power consumption, the new monitor achieves the industry’s thinnest profile by adopting a specially designed edge LED backlight that’s only 35mm deep…

A media release explains the ultra high-resolution monitor for pros dubbed the PN-K321 has one DisplayPort and two HDMI ports and is capable of rendering approximately 1.06 billion colors. The display section weighs only 7.5kg, or approximately 16.5 lbs.

Sharp’s proprietary IGZO technology incorporates a thin-film transistor that allows for thinner devices while reducing power consumption and increasing image quality.

As such, IGZO delivers more vivid colors, deeper blacks and sharper image overall compared to traditional LCD screens.

“Because 4K2K displays enable clear, crisp display of large amounts of information ranging from small text to detailed images on one screen, they boost operational efficiency by sparing users the need to scroll frequently”, explains Sharp.

Pricing and availability info was unknown at press time, but Wikipedia thinks the monitor will cost a cool $5,500. Sharp underscored the PN-K321 will first launch in Japan on February 15, 2013, with initial production limited to just 1,500 monthly units.

Another major upside to IGZO is that unlike LCDs which need a constant power stream, Sharp’s tech uses extra power only briefly, when the user presses the screen.

The Japanese company last month hinted IGZO devices will surge as it announced own Aquos Pad SHT 21 tablet rocking a seven-inch IGZO display, a tell-tale sign Sharp solved problems that had been limiting its ability to manufacture IGZO panels in volume.

We know Apple wanted to use IGZO panels for new iPads and iPhones, but couldn’t due to yield issues. Now that Sharp is incorporating IGZO panels into various form factors ranging from tablets to big monitors, perhaps Apple will take another look at implementing IGZO tech into the next wave of iOS devices, where Sharp’s technology could triple battery life while offering higher touch sensitivity.

Apple, as Ed told you, may have bailed out Sharp to the tune of $2 billion. And with ongoing rumors asserting Apple is mulling a strategic investment in Sharp’s high-tech IGZO plant in Osaka, Japan and talk of an Apple-branded HD TV set among analysts, fans and Hollywood moguls, the possibility of Apple’s next big thing grows with each day.

Or perhaps an Apple-branded HD TV is just a pipedream after all?