When it comes to displays, there are only four companies you should care about: Sharp, Samsung, LG, and Japan Display Incorporated. The last one, known as JDI for short, is actually a joint venture made up of Sony, Hitachi, and Toshiba. These four companies each have their own distint innovations. Samsung for example, they’re known for AMOLED. JDI, they’re making ultra high resolution LCD panels. LG is seen as being one of Apple’s largest supplier. And then there’s Sharp, who is in such terrible shape right now that some investors say they might have to ask the Japanese government for money to stay alive.
The technology Sharp is betting on to save their skin is called IGZO, which stands for indium gallium zinc oxide. In a nutshell, it allows Sharp to make crazy high resolution LCD panels that use far less electricity than traditional silicon based LCD panels. According to an article published by Bloomberg, an unnamed Sharp executive has confirmed that the company has finally begun receiving orders for these new IGZO displays. When will these panels end up in retail hardware? This quote sums everything up perfectly:
“A domestic company will probably offer products using IGZO display panels from the first quarter of the calendar year. As for foreign brands, you will probably see such products in the second quarter.”
When this person says “domestic” company, we think they mean themselves, because why would Sony, who is a part of JDI, use panels from their competitor? And as for “foreign brands”, that could be just about anyone, so let’s not bother speculating.
Have any IGZO devices actually been announced yet? Yes, we can think of at least two: the Japanese only Sharp SH-02E, which has a 4.9 inch 720p display, and the Sharp Aquos Pad SHT21, another Japanese only product that can best be thought of as a Nexus 7.
Looks like us foreigners have to wait a while to see whether IGZO really is all that.