OSAKA – Sharp Corp. will expand production bases for its newest liquid crystal display panels in hopes of turning around its flagging LCD business, industry sources said Sunday.
Sharp’s IGZO (indium gallium zinc oxide) panels, which boast higher picture quality and lower power use, are only produced at its No. 2 panel plant in Kameyama, Mie Prefecture. Sharp wants to secure higher production capacity by converting its LCD plant in Tenri, Nara Prefecture, to handle the new panels, they said.
The Kameyama plant is expected to focus on making IGZO panels for notebook and tablet computers via long-term deals with the Lenovo Group Ltd., Dell Inc. and Hewlett-Packard Co. The plant in Tenri will mainly churn out smaller panels for smartphones, the sources said.
Sharp, the only company capable of mass-producing IGZO panels, has already started reorganizing the lines at the Tenri plant to start full-scale production within the year. If demand grows, the company will also consider producing IGZO smartphone panels in Kameyama, they said.
IGZO panels consume 10 to 20 percent of the power required by conventional panels and are better suited for touch-screen operation.