Struggling Sharp Corp. is promoting a new liquid crystal display for cellphones, as the major LCD maker attempts to regain its lead in the domestic handset market.
Specifically, it is pinning its hopes on the high-definition, low-power Igzo LCD screen, and is considering offering the display in overseas models too.
"We failed to respond to the rapid spread of smartphones," said Masami Ohbatake, a Sharp executive officer. "The Igzo, which has highly sensitive touch control, is a big weapon. We will try to recover market share by creating products that use it."
Ohbatake was speaking at a news conference in Tokyo on Oct. 23.
Sharp is to release seven new cellphone and tablet models for the Japanese market, for the approaching winter season. The Igzo LCD screen is used for the first time in a smartphone for the NTT DoCoMo Inc. network and a tablet for KDDI Corp.'s au service.
The Igzo not only offers high definition images, it also consumes less than one-fifth of the power used by previous models. Sharp says the two new models will display still images continuously 2.5 to 3.6 times longer than models released last winter.
Sharp was Japan's leading manufacturer of cellphones for the domestic market for six straight years through fiscal 2010. In fiscal 2011, Fujitsu Ltd. and Apple Inc. leaped in front, and Sharp fell to third place.
Meanwhile, Ohbatake said Sharp released a smartphone model in mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan in late August. The product is being sold in cooperation with Taiwan’s Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., which is now a Sharp partner in LCD production.
The product is believed to be a mid-priced one, costing more than 20,000 yen ($250). Sharp plans to offer more models—ranging from the low to the high end—and to expand its sales area, by targeting Southeast Asia.
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