Sharp, the ailing Japanese consumer electronics company, is about to start mass production of its Super IGZO panels for mobile devices that will have a higher resolution and consume up to twenty percent less energy than the company’s standard IGZO panels, which already use just a fifth as much power as standard liquid crystal displays.
Super IGZO panels will go into mass production in early 2016, according to a report Friday by Nikkei. The panels will be manufactured at Sharp’s Kameyama Plant No.2 located in Mie Prefecture as the ailing company seeks to replace “some unprofitable television panels” on the conveyor belts.
“Sharp is working on mass production technology to boost the yield rate” as its LCD business continues to be in the red.
It’s unclear if Sharp’s decision to press forward with this risky endeavor is related to Samsung’s increased investment in its AMOLED facilities and Apple’s rumored switch to AMOLED panels for iPhones by 2018.
Another Apple supplier, LG Display, is building a $4 billion facility to mass-manufacture OLED panels for smartphones and tablets by the 2017-2018 timeframe.
Sharp is on Apple’s Supplier List 2015, but the company provides only a small percentage of screens for iOS devices, with Samsung Display, Japan Display and LG Display taking the lead as its primary suppliers of LCD TFT panels.
A few years back, Apple and Sharp were supposed to invest into a multi-billion dollar facility, with the goal of churning out tens of millions of IGZO panels per month exclusively for Apple. However, the deal collapsed amid Sharp’s financial woes and due to its inability to solve yield issues and meet Apple’s specifications.