OSAKA--Sharp Corp. became the world's first mass-producer of next-generation liquid crystal display (LCD) panels using what is considered the “magic card” in the industry, the company said April 13.
Full-scale production of LCD panels that use IGZO (InGaZnO) oxide semiconductors in lieu of silicon has started at Sharp's Kameyama Plant No. 2 in Mie Prefecture.
LCD panels using IGZO come with higher image resolution and lower power consumption than those for conventional models.
Mass production has begun for 7-inch panels for use in tablet computers, and will soon expand for 10-inch panels for notebook computers and 32-inch panels for monitors.
Although Sharp has yet to announce shipment destinations and quantities, the company said the new LCD panels will be used in Sharp products, including Galapagos tablet computers, by the end of this year.
"We will further advance our research so that we will not easily be overtaken," Norikazu Hoshi, a Sharp executive officer, told a news conference. "We will contribute to creating a paperless society."
Samsung Electronics Co. and other rival panel makers are also studying IGZO technology.
The adoption of IGZO makes it possible to reduce the size of transistors that control liquid crystal molecules, thereby quadrupling the number of pixels per surface area compared with conventional models.
Power consumption can also be reduced to less than one-fifth of previous levels because the IGZO helps reduce the amount of LED backlight while retaining the same screen brightness, Sharp officials said.
In June last year, Sharp announced structural reforms of its LCD businesses and defined IGZO panels as the key to success in the rapidly expanding smartphone and tablet computer markets.
Sharp initially planned to start mass production in autumn, but that schedule was scrapped because of delays in completing the finish touches on production technologies.
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