Aquos lineup gets updated for 2014
During its CES keynote, Sharp announced the next developments for its range of large screen Aquos TVs. Throughout 2014, Sharp will be updating its entire line with the introduction of new models in its Aquos HD, Quattron, and 4K lineups. Furthermore, a new Quattron+ model, which has been designed to bridge the gap between Full HD and 4K, was also announced alongside a new SmartCentral TV platform.
WiSA-compliant Sharp Blu-ray player ships this spring
Sharp has revealed its Universal Player and Wireless Bridge at CES, with the company claiming it to be the first Wireless Speaker and Audio (WiSA) Association-compliant universal player system. The SD-WH1000U's support for the WiSA open standard means that it is capable of streaming uncompressed 24-bit 96kHz sound and 1080p video wirelessly to a compatible receiver.
19 hardware partners lined up to support standard for YouTube
Google's YouTube will be showing of a 4K-capable video codec, VP9, at next week's CES in Las Vegas, according to GigaOm. The format is being presented as an alternative to H.265, and will be open and royalty-free. To avoid the lack of support that killed off Google's VP8, the company has signed up 19 hardware partners, including Samsung, Sharp, Toshiba, ARM, Intel, Broadcom, and Marvell. At CES, 4K YouTube steaming will be demonstrated at booths belonging to LG, Sony, and Panasonic.
Ultra high-resolution Sharp displays show up in Apple online stores
A number of Apple's online stores have begun selling 4K monitors made by Sharp, it was revealed on Friday. A 32-inch version of Sharp's PN-K321 monitor showed up at Apple's UK online store recently, retailing for Â£3,499. The move likely signals the impending availability of Apple's new, redesigned Mac Pro.
Apple allegedly turning to Samsung for help
Anticipated shortages of the Retina iPad Mini are linked to burn-in problems Sharp is having with its IGZO LCD panels, an industry source claims. The burn-in is thought to be caused by malfunctions in thin-film transistors. The source notes that while the burn-in is invisible to the eye, it still doesn't meet Apple's quality standards.
iPad Air thought to be unaffected
Low display yields at Sharp are behind predicted iPad mini shortages, Taiwanese supply chain sources claim. The company is said to be responsible for about 40 percent of the Retina displays for the new Mini, while LG Display handles the majority. LG is using an a-Si manufacturing process; Sharp is using oxide TFT.
Product would allegedly ship in first half of 2014
Officials from Apple met with peers at Corning, Foxconn, and G-Tech Optoelectronics in the US about two weeks ago to talk about the production of a TV set, according to sources for Taiwan's Economic Daily News. Foxconn is reportedly asking Corning to share some data about Gorilla Glass with G-Tech, so that the latter can do surface treatments needed to produce the set. G-Tech is relatively unknown in the West, but was once rumored to be behind the anti-reflection glass for the 2012 iMac.
IHS accounts may dispel notions of delay
Display production levels for the second-generation iPad mini are paralleling those of the first-gen model last year, says research firm IHS iSuppli. "Based [on what] we are seeing in the [production] pipeline...The volumes are similar to the iPad mini that we saw in Q4 of last year," explains one of the firm's directors, Vinita Jakhanwal. The claim would appear to dismiss rumors of delays pushing production back to November, and a launch even further.
Legal troubles having no effect
Despite legal battles between the two companies, Samsung is actually gaining ground as a display supplier for Apple, says NPD DisplaySearch. Samsung shipped more 9.7-inch iPad panels in April and June than Apple's other major display partner, LG Display. NPD notes moreover that Apple been increasing its orders since January; whereas it picked up 2.3 million panels from Samsung in the first quarter, shipments rose to over 4.1 million in Q2.
Quarterly loss considerable year-on-year improvement from $1.2B
Sharp has reported an improvement in its financial situation in its latest quarterly results, as the company fights to shake off the monetary issues endured in the last year. While it managed to report a loss of 19.9 billion yen ($182 million) for the quarter, it is a significant improvement from the $1.2 billion loss it endured last year.
Samsung could be replacement
As a result of the latter's production problems, Apple won't be taking on AU Optronics as an LCD supplier for the second-generation iPad mini, says ETNews. LCDs for the first-gen Mini are provided by AUO, Sharp, and LG Display. Apple has reportedly forged a deal with LG for the next Mini, and is thought likely to take on Sharp again, since it can provide low-power oxide semiconductor panels.
iPad, MacBooks expected to adopt technology
Apple is planning to expand its adoption of IGZO (indium gallium zinc oxide) displays to new iPad and MacBook models coming within the next year, industry sources tell etnews.com. The company is reportedly talking to LCD panel makers like Sharp and LG Display about the prospect. The IGZO-equipped MacBooks will reportedly ship in the first half of 2014.
High-resolution 4K monitor includes 10-point multitouch, stylus control
Sharp is introducing a new LCD touchscreen monitor with the ability to show 4K-resolution images, following on from its earlier non-touch version. The PN-K322B Ultra HD monitor has an IGZO display panel measuring 32 inches, and is mounted on an adjustable hinge, allowing its 10-point multitouch to be used, as well as its dedicated touch pen with a tip width of just 2mm (0.08 inches).
Passed THX 4K certification tested upscaling of HD content
Sharp will launch its first THX-certified 4K-resolution television in the United States in August. The 70-inch Aquos Ultra HD LED TV, the larger of two models announced for sale in Japan last month, will also be the first television of its type to have the visual certification, thanks to it passing through four hundred performance tests.
Device could grow as large as 5.7 inches
Apple is considering a range of possible options for expanding its iPhone lineup in 2014, say four sources for Reuters, some of which are said to be with Asian suppliers. The people claim that Apple is considering two bigger iPhone sizes, including 4.7- and 5.7-inch dimensions. Suppliers have reportedly been approached with plans for the bigger screens, but whether or not they'll make it into shipping products is uncertain. "They constantly change product specifications almost to the final moment, so you're not really sure whether this is the final prototype," one source says.
HDTVs with 4K resolution includes Moth-Eye anti-reflection layer
Sharp is preparing to sell a pair of Ultra HD TVs in Japan, under the Aquos UD1 banner. The LC-60UD1 and LC-70UD1, measuring 60 inches and 70 inches respectively, both take advantage of Sharp's previously-demonstrated "Moth-Eye" technology, which uses a special layer above the LCD panel to significantly reduce glare, internal reflections, and light scattering.
Panels boast highest pixel density of any display Sharp has made
According to Sharp, the company will begin production of three types of IGZO LCD panels that boast pixel densities among the highest in the industry. The panels, scheduled to begin production in June 2013 are intended for use in notebook PCs and will come in three sizes: 11.6 inches, 14 inches, and 15.6 inches. A 13.3 inch panel is already being produced by the company.
List includes nine smartphones, one tablet, one Raku-Raku device
Japanese carrier NTT DoCoMo has revealed the lineup of mobile devices that it will start offering over the summer. Eleven models make the cut, including nine smartphones, one tablet, and one "Raku-Raku" simplified smartphone. Notable additions include a new Sony Xperia smartphone, the Aquos Phone Zeta, and the Aquos Pad tablet from Sharp.
Manufacturer aims for small annual net profit following massive loss
Troubled electronics manufacturer Sharp has reportedly had its largest yearly net loss in its century-long history. The losses of 545 billion yen ($5.3 billion), which is higher than any other result in its last 100 years of doing business, with management at the company also seeing a reshuffle in another attempt to rectify its finances.
Three-year plan will halve employee count at head office
Sharp will be drastically cutting its number of employees over the next three years, as part of a plan to financially rectify itself. Out of the 51,000 currently employed by the company worldwide, Sharp will be reportedly cull 5,000 jobs across the board, with its main office in Osaka, Japan losing approximately half of its workforce.
Report conflicts with other rumors, reflects late-summer release
As talk of the next iPhone model -- which will arrive in June, July, or August depending on which supplier report one wants to believe -- heats up, rumors and reports from component suppliers and other sources often contradict each other on timetables. This confusion reinforces Apple CEO Tim Cook's statements that any one bit of information -- even if true -- was unlikely to provide the proper context given Apple's complex supply chain. That said, a source in Japan has reported that Sharp will be ramping up display units for the iPhone 5S next month.
New loans and extensions puts sharp 800 billion yen in debt
A pair of Japanese banks are considering a 100 billion yen ($1 billion) bailout loan to Sharp, to help it meet an upcoming bond redemption. The electronics manufacturer has nearly $2 billion in convertible bonds, similar to Apple's current offering, maturing in September. Lenders Mizuho Corporate Bank and Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ are also giving Sharp an extension on 360 billion yen in lending that matures in June. The offerings by the banks puts Sharp in the red to the two banks to just over $8 billion.
Tablet expected to be thinner, Mini-like
Mass production of the fifth-generation iPad is only slated to start in a July-August window, say DigiTimes sources in Taiwan-based supply companies. The people add that the display is expected to be manufactured by Sharp and LG Display, while touch panel assembly will be done by TPK, and ITO thin film will come from Nitto Denko and Teijin. Some earlier rumors had an iPad announcement taking place as soon as this month.
Sharp to fail in defining display specifications in time, $60M delayed
A $60 million payment to Sharp from Qualcomm as part of an investment agreement has been delayed, due to a looming deadline set to be missed. The second half of the $120 million deal had a number of requirements in order to be paid on time, including making an operating profit in the second half of its financial year, holding net assets worth at least 100 billion yen ($1.05), and to prepare for the production of new display panels, requirements which Sharp has failed to accomplish.
Deal sees Samsung own over 3-percent of Sharp
Sharp has received an investment of 10.4 billion yen ($112 million) from Samsung, in exchange for shares. The deal, confirmed through Sharp in a statement, sees Samsung taking ownership of newly-issued shares from the company, giving it the equivalent of 3.08-percent of the overall shareholder voting rights.
LG, Sharp tapped as panel suppliers
The fifth-generation iPad will use the same G/F2 (DITO) thin-film touchscreen format as the iPad mini, claim industry sources for DigiTimes. The fourth-gen model uses a more conventional G/G touchscreen arrangement, but the sources suggest that Apple may feel it has enough supply of DITO to carry it over to the flagship iPad. The technology could help make the tablet even thinner and lighter than it is currently.
iPad mini may be diverting demand
Sharp has "nearly halted" production of 9.7-inch screens for the iPad, Reuters reports. Two industry sources for the newswire agency say that on the iPad line at Sharp's Kameyama plant, production has dropped to the minimum level needed to keep it moving, after a gradual slowdown that started at the end of 2012. Apple is reportedly managing its inventory.
Phone allegedly seeing 'weaker-than-expected' demand
Apple is slashing its parts orders for the iPhone 5 due to demand falling lower than expected, say Wall Street Journal sources. For the current quarter Apple has reportedly cut screen orders to about half of what it had originally planned for. The sources note that Apple told suppliers about reduced orders last month; one source elaborates that more than just screens have been affected. Sharp, LG Display, and Japan Display Co. are allegedly the main suppliers for iPhone 5 screen panels.
Foxconn to handle stateside production, AU Optronics to do IGZO
A pair of unconfirmed reports from the sometimes-accurate Taiwanese trade publication DigiTimes claims that Apple is exploring the idea of moving Mac mini production to a Foxconn Electronics facility in the US, and that Apple is evaluating switching its iOS devices to IGZO display panels in a rollout of revisions across 2013. Sharp, the company behind the IGZO technology, has allegedly licensed Innolux Corporation and may possibly add AU Optroics to help produce displays.
No LCD supplier lined up, source says
A new report by Focus Taiwan -- an English service of Taiwan's national news agency -- is disputing some recent claims about Apple's expected HDTV. Sources close to Hon Hai, better known as Foxconn, support the notion that the manufacturer is testing several TV designs. One source argues however that it's unlikely that the TV will ship in 2013, something some analysts have previously called for.
HDTVs, digital cameras, printers and more
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ICC Purios has 60-inch display, multi-channel recording
Sharp is joining the 4K race with its own Ultra High-Definition television. The "Integrated Cognitive Creation" (ICC) Purios joins the ranks of LG and Sony in putting a 4K screen on the market, and although the 60-inch display doesn't match its 84-inch competitors, Sharp does boast it to be the first 4K TV to be released with a THX-certification.
Sources say product is still in 'early stage of testing'
Apple is testing a few designs for a large-sized TV set, according to supply chain sources reached by the Wall Street Journal. Unlike many similar reports, though, one source warns that Apple may or may not put a TV into production. "It isn't a formal project yet. It is still in the early stage of testing," the person says.
Qualcomm and Sharp announce strategic display tech tie-in
Sharp has announced that it has entered into an agreement with Pixtronix, a subsidiary of Qualcomm, for the development of its MEMS display technology. As part of the deal, Qualcomm will take a stake in Sharp for a total of 9.9 billion yen (around $120m). The deal will see Sharp commercialize MEMS technology by integrating with its vaunted IGZO display tech, while further collaboration between two companies on chipsets and displays has also been mooted.
LED screen measures 20-inches, supports stylus input
Shortly after its announcement to sell a 4K IGZO monitor in February, Sharp is also preparing to release a 20-inch touchscreen display in Japan. The LL-S201A, branded "Big Pad" by the manufacturer, supports up to ten points of multi-touch input, as well as a stylus with a 2mm tip for more precise work.
Display technology leads to 35mm-thick screen
Sharp has announced it will be releasing its first 4K LCD display that takes advantage of its IGZO (indium gallium zinc oxide) technology. The PN-K321 is a 32-inch screen meant for design-related business use that can display images at a resolution of 3840x2160, while having a fairly slimline design measuring just 35mm (1.4 inches) thick.
Japan-only handset uses low-power display technology
Sharp will start shipping its first smartphone using the company's new IGZO display technology from November 29th in Japan. The Aquos Phone Zeta SH-02E uses the new ultra low-power consumption display, built using an indium gallium zinc oxide technology, which requires significantly less backlighting than other displays to be visible.
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.
Profit expected in last two years of its fiscal year
Struggling electronics manufacturer Sharp Corporation increased its full-year loss forecast to 155 billion yen ($1.94 billion) from a previous estimate of 100 billion yen. Unexpectedly, and also mentioned in the update, Sharp claims to be able to post an operating profit in the current second half of its fiscal year.
Sharp looks to nature for display inspiration in new AQUOS XL series
Sharp has taken the covers of its new AQUOS Quattron 3D XL TV series. In addition to featuring Sharp’s Quattro four primary color technology that includes a yellow sub-pixel, the new TVs incorporate a new technology Sharp is calling ‘Moth-Eye.’ This is said to significantly reduce glare by cutting light scattering as well as internal reflection.
Phones with 1080p screens due to arrive during first half of next year
South Korean electronic companies LG and Samsung are rumored to release smartphones with 1080p displays in the first half of 2013, daily paper MK News reported. LG is said to use LCDs for its screen, while Samsung will reportedly go with AMOLED technology. Such displays will have a minimum pixel density of 440ppi, compared to the current Apple iPhone's 326ppi screen.
New tablet said to increase battery life due to lower-power display
Sharp has announced its intention to launch the Aquos Pad -- a 7-inch tablet with its IGZO display in early December. The tablet has a 1280x800 display, and other technologies which the company says stretches the life of the 2,040mAh battery out to 2.5 times greater than existing tablets. The IGZO technology could also be used to power the display for Apple's rumored iPad mini, which may debut at the company's scheduled October 23 press event.
Sharp releases first smartphone with IGZO LCD tech
The first smartphone to be launched with Sharp’s vaunted IGZO display technology will be one of Sharp’s own models. The Sharp Aquos Phone Zeta (SH-02E) sports a 4.9-inch display that uses a ultra lower power consumption technology built using indium gallium zinc oxide technology. As the display is more translucent than a typical LCD, it requires less backlighting, lowering power consumption dramatically.
Sharp to begin full-scale production of ultra-sharp touchscreen for phones
Sharp, which makes the 4-inch display for the iPhone 5, has now revealed that it started producing 5-inch displays that have 1,920x1,080 resolution. They also promise to be ultra-sharp, thanks to their record 443ppi density. To compare, the iPhone 5's screen houses 1,136x640 pixels at a density of 326ppi.
May signal end to deep iPhone shortages
Sharp is finally producing "adequate volumes" of displays, according to a company executive quoted by Reuters. The wire agency notes that the displays are intended for the iPhone 5, and may indicate that shortages of the phone are about to ease up. Although the 5 set a record for Apple by selling 5 million units over its launch weekend, analysts were expecting higher numbers, and have blamed the discrepancy on display supplies.
Workforce reductions a possible path to profitability
Japanese electronics maker Sharp has submitted a restructuring plan to its creditors, one that envisions job cuts in excess of 10,000 as well as asset sales in an effort to return to profitability. Sources familiar with the plan tell The Wall Street Journal that it would involve wage reductions in addition to letting go of nearly one-fifth of Sharp's global employees. The electronics and component manufacturer has enjoyed some success in Japan, but the strength of the Japanese yen and increased competition abroad have cut deeply into Sharp's bottom line.
Sharp experiencing production glitches with in-cell display tech
Sharp is said to be facing serious production delays of its alleged in-cell touchscreen displays destined for the next-generation iPhone. Sharp had previously promised that it would begin the mass production of the mobile displays with the new technology over this past month, but sources speaking to The Wall Street Journal say that this has not gone ahead as planned. The in-cell display technology uses new manufacturing methods, and Sharp is said to be facing technical difficulties in moving to the mass production phase.
Foxconn could buy Sharp TV plants in China, Mexico
Hon Hai and Sharp are considering making a $1 billion investment in the latter's LCD plant in Sakai, Japan to help production of displays for Apple devices, Reuters reports. C.C. Lin, an official for Hon Hai -- better known as Foxconn -- made the interest public earlier this week. Lin suggests that Hon Hai is also considering buying Sharp's TV assembly factories in China and Mexico; as for the Japanese investment though, Reuters indicates that an arrangement could be announced as soon as Friday.
One in four mobile consumers owns a smartphone
In Japan, as in the rest of the world, Google's Android operating system is the top mobile platform; and Apple remains the top individual smartphone manufacturer. This according to new figures out from market research firm comScore, which surveyed more than 4,000 Japanese mobile subscribers for its most recent study. The study also found considerable growth in the Japanese smartphone audience, with the number of smartphone users growing 43 percent since the beginning of the year.
Sharp ramping up next-gen mobile display production
Taking a leaf from Sony President Sir Howard Stringer, who let it be known that it was supplying camera sensors to Apple, Sharp President Takashi Okuda has done likewise. Speaking to journalists following Sharp's $1.2 billion loss for Q1, Okuda touted that its new mobile displays headed for the new iPhone "will start in August." However, Okuda wouldn't be pushed beyond revealing that the displays were now ready for OEMs.