Sharp's new screens aim to make HD-LCD pixels mobile

Sharp's new screens aim to make HD-LCD pixels mobile

Summary: The company is now producing a new range of panels that will give smartphone screens the same pixel density of full HD-LCD TVs. What does this mean for the firm's future?

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Sharp's new 1,080 x 1,920 LCD panels will feature a pixel density of 443 ppi which the technology giant claims is 1.3 times the industry standard and "among the highest in the world".

Production began at the end of September at Mie Plant No. 3 in Kameyama, Japan, and full-scale production of the new smartphone screen is expected to begin this month.

sharp screens ldc hd pixels

The new LCD panel integrates a new pixel design and revamped manufacturing process to achieve the rate of pixels normally reserved for large LCD television screens. According to Sharp, modern CG-Silicon technology allow the screens to display crisper text, super-clear maps and more realistic HD images.

"By providing ultra-detailed LCD panels to support the growing worldwide demand for smartphones, Sharp will contribute to smartphones with increasingly higher quality images," a company statement read.

Sharp produces the 5-inch screen for Apple's recently released iPhone 5. Before the device launched, reports claimed that the company was lagging behind in production -- and it remained "unclear" whether enough would be produced to cope with consumer demand. In light of today's low supply, an unnamed company executive at the Japanese firm said despite financial issues, the Kameyama LCD plant is manufacturing "adequate volumes" of the screen.

Recent reports have also suggested that Sharp is considering cutting over 10,000 jobs -- representing roughly 18 percent of its global workforce. In addition, the firm doubled cuts in management pay to ten percent in September, slashing end-of-year bonuses by 50 percent.

At the end of Q2, the firm owned $16 billion in debt after failing to reach an agreement with Foxconn over the purchase of a minority stake. However, even as Sharp's shares continue to fall and it remains at "junk" status through agency Standard & Poor's, the ailing firm secured a 360 billion yen ($4.64 billion) loan on Friday provided by the Bank of Tokyo Mitsubishi UFJ and Mizuho Corporate Bank.

Even with the rescue loan, the balance sheet is not looking healthy for the technology giant. Potentially, the new screens may be part of the Sharp's plan to launch its own range of smartphones in Southeast Asia in collaboration with Foxconn -- giving the firm an advantage over competitors if the screens prove popular with consumers -- as well as a means to clean up its finances.

Topics: Hardware, Smartphones

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11 comments
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  • A couple of things...

    A (fantastic) company called Oppo beat Sharp to it I'm afraid. Their smartphones are possibly the best in the world in my opinion.

    Also, before someone talks about Retina displays and how this is all pointless, you should understand a few things:

    1. "Retina" display is just a term Apple cooked up.
    2. The number that Apple associates with the term "Retina display" is 326ppi (pixels per inch).
    3. The human eye doesn't have an inifinitely clear lens and the human brain couldn't proceess an infinitely sharp image anyway. When Apple say it's past the point where the human eye could differentiate individual pixels, they are assuming a specific distance, and therefore a particular quality of eye. A "Retina display" on a TV is going to have a heck of a lot fewer pixels in every inch than a phone.
    4. Having a 443ppi screen is not a complete waste of time and money, as already explained, all you would have to do in order to benefit from the 117 extra pixels in every inch over the iPhone 5, is simply to stare at it a little closer. Another reason you will benefit from having a 1,920x1,080 (1080p) phone is that requires a decent amount of horsepower under the hood for powering the whole thing, and also the experience will be more consistent with whatever personal computer you have, especially for video viewing/editing.
    Naryan
    • a couple of things

      First, I can't differentiate pixels on my iPhone 4S, so I am sure the Sharp screen is vast overkill. It is useful only for bragging rights. It is rather like advertising head phones that produce sounds from 10 to 200,000 Hz. I am sure that would impress an audiophile, but humans can't HEAR those very high, or low frequencies. I am nearly 70 years old, and while my eyes are still great (according to my opthalmologist), I am sure that a 5 inch screen with 443 pixels/inche would look no better than my 326 pixel/inch 4S screen. It might make displaying a movie intended for HD on the phone a bit less burden on the processor, however. And, the more pixels you have to drive, the more power you use from a very limited supply in your smartphone's battery. I don't think Sharp should bet the company on this one.
      rphunter42
      • Re: It is useful only for bragging rights

        Iphone users should not be talking about bragging rights.
        ldo17
    • What is going on with Pixel QI?

      Their technology looked very promising, but I do not see it used (advertised) in any products.
      D.T.Long
  • Another thing...

    Another thing to note is that the Apple iPhone has a Retina display, at 326ppi,
    and the Apple iPad *also* has a "Retina display", at 297ppi.

    Both designated the same name despite completely different technical specifications.
    Naryan
    • Because retina is a marketing term

      Because Apple's "formula" for what makes a display "retina" includes the distance you must hold it away from your eyes, they can get away with calling ANYTHING a retina display. They call the iPad "retina" by telling you to hold it further away from you. If you hold it too close, you are holding it wrong.

      I always found it interesting that pre-iPhone 4, resolution was not considered to be an important spec by Apple fanbois. Apple really trailed the field back before the iPhone 4 and they handled it by unleashing a legion of astro-turfers to tell us that resolution didn't matter. Then they worked out a good deal with companies like Samsung and used Samsung innovations to release the excellent iPhone 4 (my current smartphone). Suddenly, Apple's displays didn't suck any more and instantly, resolution was incredibly important. Suddenly, we were told that you should never buy a device with low resolution.
      toddbottom3
      • Nice try, but your lie

        Doesn't even make a spec of sense. You've claimed to own a Nokia 900 ( a white one under the name Matt Miller), and I believe a Cyan one under the name Will Farrel. So you claims that the iPhone is so inferior, are just jealous hate from a Microsoft fanboy.
        Troll Hunter J
  • More of the unending market hype

    How do you get a large cross-section of laypeople to spend the money they may not have on useless crap? Create a technology that has no intrinsic value in the product there purchasing.
    sickntired44
  • i

    want to know why some one keeps blocking me every time i talk about apple. oh i know look at the so called reporters age god for bid i say something wrong at the start of a post . did i hurt your feallings.go cry some were
    sarai1313@...
  • There becomes a point where a screen of that resolution

    becomes complete overkill. Now I can understand trying to get screens down to a tiny size, in order to make 3D personal theater more feasible and comfortable at 1080p, and possibly 1440p, 4k, and 8k as we keep going on.

    As for Sharp making handsets, I believe they manufactured the old T-Mobile Sidekick devices. Which means Sharp knows how to build quality hardware.
    Champ_Kind
  • LG Were Showing Off A Screen Like This A Few Months Ago

    LG showed off a 5-incher with 1080p capability not long ago, with the promise that it would be coming to market soon.

    Was that screen made by Sharp?
    ldo17