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Sharp readying 600 PPI displays for smartphones and tablets

Sharp is preparing its manufacturing line for mass production of the company’s new 600 PPI LCD mobile displays next spring.
May 6, 2014

Japanese electronics giant, Sharp, is prepping its manufacturing lines for mass production of the company’s next line-up of mobile displays, where it will be producing the industry’s highest resolution displays for tablets and smartphones.

The display manufacturer is currently sitting in second place behind rival Japan Display. However, its new displays will see Sharp claim the mobile display crown, thanks to its cutting edge 600 pixel density per inch panels. Sharp will start off producing 5.5 inch LCD panels for smartphones, followed up with 7 to 9 inch LCD versions for tablets. Production is expected to start as early as next spring, so we won’t be seeing any of these displays this year.

Sharp is also touting that its new panels pack the clarity to enable viewing of 4K content on small displays. However, it’s a little tricky to figure out which displays will be featuring the high pixel density and 4K resolution.  My calculations put the display size at around 7.3 inches, for a resolution of 3840 × 2160 and PPI of 600. Therefore, Sharp’s first batch of 5.5 inch smartphone displays certainly won’t be 4K capable, that would result in a PPI around 800, but its larger tablet displays will most likely match the 4K criteria.

HTC One M8 PPI compared
QHD displays are currently leading the smartphone market with about 540 pixels per inch.

That’s not all the company has planned for mobile displays. Sharp is also keen to push its IGZO panel technology into new mid-resolution devices, which could mean more smartphones and perhaps even a move into the wearables market. IGZO is Sharp’s more energy efficient LCD technology, but the design is currently limited to panels with only around 300 PPI.

With the global market for sub-9-inch panels for smartphones and tablets expected grow 70% from 2013 to reach $56.4 billion in 2018, Sharp’s leading technology puts the company in a strong position for the coming years. But perhaps the more important point to consider is – do you want devices with even higher resolution displays?