Sharp ‘Free-Form’ Technology Will Allow For Non-Rectangular Displays

Sharp has announced a new prototype technology which they say will allow future displays to break away from the rectangular shape that they are now and take on any shape that the designer wishes by nearly eliminating the bezel and the gate driver that it covers. Spurred on the current race to develop proprietary display for the likes of Apple’s iWatch, Sharp’s design sees the display drive circuit removed and shrunk down so that it can be dispersed around the pixels on the display area, reducing the bezel right down to almost nothing.

Based in an IGZO panel, the prototype design changes the way in which the power amplifiers are built and with the much thinner bezel, Sharp says that this gives the freedom to make the LCD whatever shape that it needs to be for a particular application, such as a car dashboard as on example.

“Conventional displays are rectangular because they require a minimal width for the bezel in order to accommodate the drive circuit, called the gate driver, around the perimeter of the screen’s display area. With the Free-Form Display, the gate driver’s function is dispersed throughout the pixels on the display area. This allows the bezel to be shrunk considerably, and it gives the freedom to design the LCD to match whatever shape the display area of the screen needs to be”

Although this new technology is clearly still in a prototype stage, the huge number of potential applications for the ‘free-form’ display are huge, with the automotive industry just one example of where non-rectangular displays are likely to be found. There is no word on the cost of these displays, nor a projected date when they will be ready for the mass market, but Sharp assures us that they will begin production “at the earliest possible date”.

With many manufacturers racking to develop proprietary displays for the mobile market, with the speculated iWatch just being one example, Sharp may have hit on a potential goldmine right here and I wouldn’t be surprised to see a patent appear in the coming months as things develop.

Source and image courtesy of The Verge

iPad Air Dethroned By Kindle Fire HDX 8.9 In Terms Of Display Quality

While the iPad Air is receiving a lot of praise, Amazon’s Kindle Fire HDX took it in a display shootout, and won apparently. When DisplayMate Technologies tested the Kindle Fire HDX 8.9, the iPad Air, and Google’s Nexus 10, the Fire 8.9 “leapfrogged into the best-performing tablet display that we have ever tested,” according to the results posted Monday.

The Kindle Fire HDX 8.9 significantly outperformed “the iPad Air in brightness, screen reflection, and high ambient light contrast, plus a first-place finish in the very challenging category of absolute color accuracy,” DisplayMate continued.

The Kindle Fire HDX 8.9 also was rated tops in power efficiency, compared with the Air and Nexus 10. But that doesn’t mean the Air didn’t receive any plaudits. Both the Fire and the Air have very accurate colors, image contrast, and picture quality, DisplayMate said. “They are most likely better and more accurate than any display you own (unless it’s a calibrated professional display),” the display testing firm said.

DisplayMate also revealed the display technologies that the Air and Fire use. The Fire has a Low Temperature Poly Silicon (LTPS) LCD — that’s the type of screen tech typically used in LCD-based smartphones. The Air uses an IGZO Metal Oxide LCD — “significantly better than the a-Si amorphous Silicon LCDs being used in most current displays,” according to DisplayMate. One of the reasons that the Nexus 10 got a relatively low score was because its display tech is aging.

“The 2012 Google Nexus 10…is at the end of its annual product cycle,” DisplayMate said. “Presumably the soon-to-be-introduced 2013 Nexus 10 will take care of that.”

Thank you Cnet for providing us with this information
Images courtesy of Cnet

Dell’s UltraSharp UP3214Q Ultra HD Monitor Priced And Available In Hong Kong

Although the Dell UltraSharp UP3214Q Ultra HD Monitor was showcased back in July, it was not spotted on the retail/e-tail shelves, up until now that is. Thankfully, it showed up in Hong Kong with a price of HK$41,899, or around US $5,400 / €3,980 / £3,370.

For those who had not heard about Dell’s UltraSharp UP3214Q Ultra HD Monitor, it uses an 31.5-inch IGZO panel with an Ultra HD 3840×2160 resolution, has 176°/176° viewing angles, 99% Adobe RGB and 100% sRGB color coverage, 8 ms grey-to-grey (GTG) response time, 1,000:1 contrast ratio, and 350 cd/m2 of brightness. It uses Dell’s new stand which allows it to have tilt, swivel and height adjustment and packs 4-port USB 3.0 hub, HDMI, DisplayPort and mini DisplayPort inputs.

Given the specs above mentioned, impressive specifications and features come at a price, so we doubt that it will be much cheaper in both the US and Europe than the US $5,400 that it sells in Hong Kong.

Thank you Ocaholic for providing us with this information
Image courtesy of Ocaholic

Sharp Shifts Focus On Producing IGZO Panels

Sharp, the world-renowned manufacturer of quality display panels that are used across a range of devices, has announced that they will be converting their TV display manufacturing plant to increase production of energy-efficient IGZO panels for Smartphones. IGZO (Indium Gallium Zinc Oxide) panels are known for their excellent color reproduction, viewing angles and most of all, extreme power optimization (to the tune of 90% lesser power consumption when compared to traditional LCDs).

The screens are more energy-efficient because they don’t need to be refreshed constantly to prevent an image from flickering. Sharp says a standard amorphous silicon display may refresh itself 60 times a second when an image is on the screen, while IGZO refreshes itself only once a second. It can also pack more pixels into the displays for a higher-resolution screen.

Hopefully, after expanding production at their Kameyama plant Sharp will be able to produce enough volume to be able to supply their panels across the border as well. People will love to see next-gen flagships with IGZO panels compared to the likes of Super AMOLED and Super LCD.

Thank you NextPowerUp for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of NextPowerUp.

Apple iPad 5 and iPad mini 2 Will Be Available In Champagne Trim

Apparently, silver and Space Gray aren’t the only two trims the iPad 5 will come in. The insane popularity of the Champagne trim on iPhone 5S forced Apple to make a last-minute change to its product stack. The company is mulling one for its upcoming 9.7-incher.

The Champagne iPad 5 and iPad mini 2 features the same shade of gold as the central portion of the Champagne iPhone 5S, since the iPad 5 doesn’t feature a two-tone back. The matching front bezel is likely to be white, just like on the iPhone 5S.

According to previously leaked news, the iPad 5 will adopt a similar narrow frame design, same processor and camera as on the previous generations, a 9.7-inch IGZO panel, support for stereo speakers, weight and thickness will be reduced, and may be equipped with fingerprint recognition. The iPad mini 2’s shape will have the same design, but the processor and camera will be improved, it may support fingerprint identification, but may not be equipped with a Retian screen.

Chinese publication CTechCN posted these pictures of what it claims to be the Champagne iPad 5 and iPad mini 2. The pictures look plausible to us although we won’t bet our gold on it.

Thank you NextPowerUp and CTechCN for providing us with this information.

Images courtesy of CTechCN.

Apple Rumored To Release Ultra-Slim 12-Inch MacBook with Retina Display

It looks like Apple may be planning to release a 12-inch MacBook with an all-new design and high-resolution Retina Display in Mid-2014, according to KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo.

The new MacBook is expected to feature a clamshell form factor even thinner than the current MacBook Air, and may debut at a lower-price point than the current Retina MacBook Pro line due to an improving yield rate. While Kuo stops short of calling the new model a replacement for the current MacBook Air line, his description of the model suggests that it would indeed supplant Apple’s current ultra-slim notebook line.

Kuo’s claims match with a report from NPD DisplaySearch analysts earlier this week claiming that Apple is planning to introduce a new 12-inch MacBook Air next year. That new model was predicted to use a high-resolution 2304 x 1440 display. Both rumors also fall in line with earlier reports that Apple is set to move to IGZO displays for many of its future products, allowing for higher-resolution displays with lower power consumption.

Claims made by Kuo have generally been quite accurate with his predictions over the past several years, including accurately outlining many of the details of Apple’s 2013 launch plans as far back as January. Other accurate predictions have included the introduction of a “third MacBook line” that arrived in the form of Retina MacBook Pro models and the discontinuation of the 17-inch MacBook Pro last year.

Thank you MacRumors for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of MacRumors.

KDDI Unveils The Winter Collection Of New Smartphones In Japan

The largest mobile carrier in Japan, KDDI, has announced its new Winter Collection of new Smartphones. Besides the Fujitsu Arrows Z with 10-minute charging capability, there is also the Sharp Aquos SHL23, deemed the most attractive device from the six new devices.

The Aquos SHL23 comes with a 4.8-inch 1080p IGZO display, having a 1920 x 1080 pixel resolution, with an impressive 460 ppi pixel density. There’s the usual 2.3 GHz Snapdragon 800 SoC and a large 16 megapixel f/1.9 rear camera with an industry-leading 0.4 second start-up time. The most impressive thing about the handset is that it is waterproof. Yes, waterproof! And this is not it, another amazing thing is that the Japanese have managed to fit a 3000 mAh battery inside, which, combined with the low-power IGZO display technology, Sharp says is making wonders for the battery life, though we couldn’t find the exact endurance numbers.

There’s also the Fujitsu’s Arrows Z which features 10-minute fast charging, enough to last you the full day. This one’s a 5-inch Full HD device powered by the Snapdragon 800 SoC. Kyocera’s Dygno M holds the record for the lightest 5-inch Full HD display equipped Android Smartphone that is also waterproof, at just 135g, a record previously kept by the Sony Xperia Z, which was 146g.

For those who are interested in viewing the whole collection can head on over to KDDI’s official website.

Thank you NextPowerUp and GSM Arena for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of  GSM Arena.

 

ASUS To Make Google Nexus 10 – 2013 Edition

According to sources from @evleaks, ASUS is taking the step in making the new Google Nexus 10 Edition. If it turns out to be true, ASUS would become the maker to both the Nexus 7 and Nexus 10 tablets for Google, and that’s a good thing. Considering the amazing device that the new Nexus 7 2013 is, we are looking forward to seeing what ASUS has done with the new Nexus 10. One thing is guaranteed, and that is an appreciable build quality, much better than Samsung’s plastic toy, the Nexus original 10.

This way Google will secure the series of its own Android devices, with the Nexus 7 – 2013 Edition – slate, already out, the Nexus 5 handset fast approaching, and now the last piece of the puzzle shown in preparation.

The Google Nexus 10 already leaked out once in an UK electronics retailer inventory with a pricing of $399 ( £349 ) or the original Nexus 10 pricing. Asus also makes Google’s 7″ Nexus tablet, and this year surprised us very pleasantly with a Full HD screen resolution at a rock bottom price, so we can only imagine what it would do with 10-inch, but we don’t know exactly what it will be based on quite yet.

The chances are great that the new Nexus 10 will be based off the Transformer Pad Infinity TF701T, which has a brilliant 2560×1600 pixels display making it only the third 300ppi Android 10-inches, and its brilliant IGZO technology will allow up to 13 hours of battery life on a charge, as claimed by Asus. The slate is powered by a quad-core Tegra 4 chipset, has 2 GB of RAM, 32 GB of storage, cameras with zero shutter lag and HDR abilities. Last but not least, it measures only 263 x 180.8 x 8.9mm and just 585g of weight, despite the metallic chassis, though we don’t know if the exact same design will be kept by Google.

The expected pricing of the new Nexus 10 2013 is around $399 ( £246 ) for the base model, but no word on a launch date as of yet, but it could happen before the end of this year.

Thank you NextPowerUp and PhoneArena for providing us with this information.

Images courtesy of NextPowerUp.

Samsung buys 3% stake in Sharp for a whopping $112 Million

Sharp and Samsung have done business together in the past, but after Sharp confirmed that they will receive 10.4 Billion Yen/ $112 Million from Samsung for a 3% in the company, the relationship is about to be reinvigorated. Samsung isn’t the only one who have invested in Sharp, Qualcom committed a $120 Million investment to Sharp, but they’ll need to pay half of it by end of 2012 and other half by the business year ending of March 31.

Japanese company Sharp has been struggling with the commitment to provide both their larger LCD TV panels and small to medium sized panels for mobile and tablet devices for some time now.

While Samsung will still use its supplies of LCD panels for its smartphones via its affiliate Samsung Display Co., WSJ’s blog update predicts that this move would help Sharp to reduce its dependence on Apple and even prevent the possibility of Apple getting exclusive display panels.

To those who don’t know, Sharp has been working on its IGZO (Indium Gallium Zinc Oxide) display panels which will allow much higher pixel density with less power consumption. As this technology can  beused to smartphones, tablets and such portable devices, this is the turnaround opportunity their looking for as they predict that there will be strong demand for such panels. Qualcomm also will be collaborating on IGZO and MEMS’ power-saving development for the screens. Alas, because the Japanese based display maker is still struggling with lesser production, they were reduced to making it available for few smartphones and tablets in Japan only.

Over the past 18 months, the company has tried layoffs, voluntary retirements, reducing pay and even selling their assembly factory in the effort and hopes to jump back into profitability by 2014. However, since its predicted that the company would be facing a record breaking 450 Billion Yen loss, they are taking even more aggressive moves to stay afloat.

Via: Techspot