2014 Paris Motor Show highlights

Sharp's IGZO out-Retinas the Retina display, to appear in future Apple devices

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August 31, 2012

Amorphous silicon and IGZO displays side by side

Amorphous silicon and IGZO displays side by side

Image Gallery (4 images)

It may not appear among Sharp's press releases, but arguably its most compelling stand at IFA this year was dedicated to the new IGZO display technology. Sharp is making bold claims for IGZO: first, that it affords significant energy savings over conventional LCD displays; second, that that the technology could be inside Apple mobile devices in the near future.

The thing that makes IGZO IGZO is its thin-film transistors. In an ordinary LCD display, these are made from amorphous silicon. In IGZO, the transistors are made from an alloy of indium, gallium and zinc oxide.

"This new technology allows us to make the panel more transparent, so less energy is required for the light to come through the transistors to our eyes," Alexander Sivolap, Project Manager of Sharp Electronics Russia, told Gizmag.

Sivolap indicated to us that energy savings of 25 to 40 percent compared to conventional LCD displays is typical, due to the less powerful backlights required. IGZO's integrated circuits also require less energy, Sharp claims.

"We are going to use this technology to make LCD panels for Apple iPads and maybe iPhones as well," Sivolap told Gizmag, indicating that other display manufacturers are now rushing to catch up. "IGZO is the buzzword in display technology," he concluded.

The technology is certainly up to the job, judging by the 498-ppi IGZO screen on show. The Retina display of the iPhone 4 is only (only, already) 326 ppi, and that's the highest-resolution display of any current Apple device. The higher resolution is made possible by the virtue of the IGZO's transistors being physically smaller.

Though IGZO will first appear in small and medium-sized screens (think phones and tablets), Sharp indicated that televisions and larger displays were in the pipeline.

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James Holloway James lives in East London where he punctuates endless tea drinking with freelance writing and meteorological angst. Unlocking Every Extend Extra Extreme’s “Master of Extreme” achievement was the fourth proudest moment of his life.   All articles by James Holloway
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5 Comments

Why won't they give it to other phone OEM's as well? Come on guys. . .

socalboomer
31st August, 2012 @ 09:00 am PDT

Because Apple has exclusive rights for a year or 2?

This is not uncommon in the industry, please note the question mark.

katgod
31st August, 2012 @ 02:31 pm PDT

Apple has a history of buying complete production runs of products, leaving competitors out cold. They also have a history of partnering with manufactures, giving them the millions to get a new production line going, in exchange for exclusive rights for awhile. I"m sure this tech will someday be widespread, but it would not surprise me if it was an Apple exclusive for a few months for one of these two reasons.

sunfly
31st August, 2012 @ 04:00 pm PDT

which of course, is not good for the consumer. If the free market system is based on the premise that it will be checked in balance by free competition, this is not it.

Calvin k
1st September, 2012 @ 09:26 pm PDT

"Apple has a history of buying complete production runs of products, leaving competitors out cold. They also have a history of partnering with manufactures, giving them the millions to get a new production line going, in exchange for exclusive rights for awhile"

We've seen how well that works out for Apple when the manufacturer decides to compete with them. Hello there, Samsung!

Mike Smith
2nd September, 2012 @ 06:53 pm PDT
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