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Rumors have Apple, Intel considering investing in Sharp

updated 12:32 pm EST, Mon November 5, 2012

Sharp in 'material doubt' about survival

Apple and Intel are among the companies Sharp is considering taking investments from in order to survive, according to Japanese reports cited by IDG. Despite being a well-known brand, Sharp has been suffering financially, and during a recent earnings report stated that there was "material doubt" about its ability to keep operating. Foxconn earlier agreed to buy an 11 percent stake, but IDG says that talks are still ongoing, and could be at risk as Sharp's stock price continues dropping.

Publicly Sharp is claiming that it thinks it can cut costs and secure enough credit in order to keep going. The company may also be depending on display sales; it's currently providing parts for the iPhone 5, and has drawn a lot of interest for its IGZO technology, allegedly including Apple. The iPad mini was at one point rumored to be using IGZO, but so far only Samsung, LG, and AU Optronics display components have been seen in teardowns.

IGZO is a new standard and Apple may be waiting for panels to appear in large enough quantities before committing to the format. Mass production is only slated to begin by the end of 2012, but that may be in time for 2013 iPads and iPhones to make the switch. Rumors of possible Apple investments date back to November.

By Electronista Staff
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  1. Stuke

    Forum Regular

    Joined: 02-11-05

    IGZO (indium gallium zinc oxide) is *not* a new standard, it *is* a new material for display technology sub-systems for displays and is used as a transparent conductive layer acting as a transistor.

  1. SockRolid

    Forum Regular

    Joined: 01-21-10

    @ stuke: Agree. It should allow brighter and/or less power-intensive LCD panels, because IGZO is 40 times (not just 40%) more conductive than amorphous silicon. That conductivity also allows for much smaller and/or faster pixels. (Perfect for Retina-class displays in the future.)

    And IGZO can be used in OLED panels as well as LCD panels. Maybe Apple will first ship IGZO-based LCD panels in iOS and OS X devices, then later transition to IGZO-based OLED. If and when Sharp is able to manufacture IGZO/OLED panels. Apparently Apple and Sharp are developing a new high-yield (i.e. low-cost) manufacturing process for "printing" OLED patterns onto glass sheets.

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