Sharp to supply ‘free-form’ LCDs to Nintendo


Sharp Corp. is close to providing video game maker Nintendo Co. with its advanced liquid crystal displays that can be shaped freely according to user demand, sources said Tuesday.

Unlike conventional LCDs, the Free-Form Display, which Sharp unveiled this year, has a bezel that can be bent, allowing for freedom of design.

Nintendo is expected to use the displays in its new portable game consoles to replace the Nintendo 3DS lines, or for a recently announced device to map sleep quality, which the company wants to market by March 2016, the sources said.

Nintendo will be Sharp’s first client to adopt the new LCDs.

Sharp will start mass production around early 2016 at its plant in Mie Prefecture, bringing forward its plan by about a year.

Nintendo is considering creating a hole at the center of the display, making it doughnut-shaped, one of the sources said.

Osaka-based Sharp, which has been struggling with turnaround efforts, is enjoying robust demand for its LCDs from Chinese smartphone makers. But analysts say it still needs to expand its customer base.

Nintendo, meanwhile, has suffered weakening demand for the older 3DS models, although the Kyoto-based firm says the latest versions of the consoles, launched in October, have sold well. It is trying to develop a new product.

“It won’t be enough that we simply upgrade” the existing models, Nintendo President Satoru Iwata has said.

Sharp also aims to sell the Free-Form Display, which incorporates the technology of its flagship Igzo LCD panels, to the makers of products such as automotive speedometers and wearable devices, the sources said.