August 1, 2014 3:39 am JST

Sharp ready to ship next-gen panels from key LCD plant

OSAKA -- Sharp will begin shipping high-resolution display panels from its Kameyama No. 2 plant in August.

     The new IGZO (indium-gallium-zinc oxide) panels offer more than twice the resolution of existing products and enable smartphones to play video in full HD.

     IGZO panels are a next-generation LCD technology offering high resolution, fast response rates and low power consumption.

     The Japanese consumer electronics company already makes comparable high-resolution panels at its Mie No. 3 Plant, but the Kameyama No. 2 plant can make them at lower cost because it employs larger glass substrates that yield 10 times more smartphone panels per sheet.

     The plant will begin by making these IGZO panels at a rate of 500,000 5.5-inch panels per month, but within the year Sharp intends to ramp up production to as many as 8 million panels a month.

     Sharp has been shifting the focus of its Kameyama No. 2 plant from large panels for TVs to more-profitable midsize and small panels. Such panels already account for around 40% of the plant's output, but Sharp plans to bring that above 50% within the fiscal year and to eventually raise the ratio to 80%.