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Meet the future of mobile display tech: Sharp's first phone and 7" tablet with Full HD IGZO screens

Posted: , by Daniel P.

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Meet the future of mobile display tech: Sharp's first phone and 7
Apple was rumored to front Sharp a billion or two last year in order to secure access to the groundbreaking IGZO screen technology from the launching pad, as vultures were already circling the carcass of the troubled company, Samsung included.

Now that the first phone and tablet with high-res IGZO panels are a fact, and presented as a part of the NTT DoCoMo summer portfolio, we know why. 

First in line is the Sharp Aquos Phone Zeta, codenamed SH-06E. It has all the prerequisites for a 2013 flagship - a 4.8" Full HD display panel (that's 460ppi for you), 1.7 GHz quad-core Snapdragon 600, 2 GB of memory, 32 GB of internal storage, 13 MP camera and 2600 mAh battery, all wrapped up in a thin sub-10mm watertight package, which houses Qi wireless charging to boot.

The details is where it gets interesting, though. IGZO (indium gallium zinc oxide) screens are much more energy efficient than even the best IPS-LCDs made with the LTPS method, like the one found on the iPhone 5. The IGZO technology reduces the amount of power required to drive liquid crystals during the display of still images, as you can see in a slide for the Zeta below.

IGZO panels are on top of that thinner, brighter, less reflective, cheaper to produce and can be made with flexible substrates, plus they have tens of times the typical LCD refresh rate. The only problem with the technology seems to be yields, as in "not able to make enough", which was the chief reason for Sharp being late to the iPad franchise party last year.

Due to the IGZO usage, the newest Sharp Aquos Zeta is claimed to boast two full days of battery life, which is a pretty svelte achievement for a big-screen phone, and hopefully a harbinger of things to come with handsets using this screen technology. After all, display time is what saps the most out of the battery on our mobiles, with cellular connectivity a distant second. The screen also supports the "hovering" finger mode that picks and previews before you've even touched it.

Not only is the display of the Aquos Zeta groundbreaking, but the phone seemingly features a 13 MP camera with f/1.9 aperture, like on the Lumia 720, and optical image stabilization, making it only the third with OIS tech, after Nokia's Lumia 92X range, and the HTC One. Here, however, we have much higher resolution and wider aperture paired with image stabilization, so low-light shots are definitely to be compared once Sharp's handset hits Japan next week on May 24th.

The other notable IGZO warrior in the lineup is the Sharp Aquos Pad SH-08E tablet, with the same quad-core Snapdragon 600, 2 GB of RAM and 32 GB of storage, but 4200 mAh battery. It is a 7-incher, though, with the breathtaking for a small tablet 1920x1200 pixels of resolution, and voice calling feature.

Given Apple's push to steer its supply chain towards Sharp's IGZO panels that began last year, this is the type of display we might see in this year's iPad mini generation with a rumored Retina screen, as this one sports a record tablet pixel density of 323ppi. Given what Nokia managed to do with the 600 nits AMOLED display on the Lumia 925, and what Sharp is doing with IGZO, it seems that there will be much more to look forward to from mobile displays this year, and more meaningful stuff than the fairly uninspriring resolution war of 2012.

source: NTT via K-tai

23 Comments
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posted on 15 May 2013, 07:19 18

1. xperiaDROID (Posts: 4838; Member since: 08 Mar 2013)


Not bad, bring it on!

As sharp as a Sharp!

posted on 15 May 2013, 09:49 3

11. funnyguy2 (banned) (Posts: 34; Member since: 14 May 2013)


I thought Sharp had gone bankrupt?

posted on 15 May 2013, 09:52 4

12. xperiaDROID (Posts: 4838; Member since: 08 Mar 2013)


Nope, you're wrong.

Sharp is still as sharp as a Sharp! :)

posted on 15 May 2013, 10:17 1

13. chocolaking (Posts: 421; Member since: 22 May 2012)


Sharp makes the best display of all time.

posted on 15 May 2013, 13:44 3

18. ZeroCide (Posts: 678; Member since: 09 Jan 2013)


Can you go bankrupt and go away

posted on 15 May 2013, 07:29 7

2. darkkjedii (Posts: 9313; Member since: 05 Feb 2011)


If these displays are anything like their tv's, watch out.

posted on 15 May 2013, 07:40 4

3. Veigald (Posts: 223; Member since: 13 Jan 2012)


Looks like they hired some Samsung designers, though

posted on 15 May 2013, 07:42

4. papss (Posts: 3445; Member since: 03 Sep 2012)


That's pretty amazing tbh but that phone looks pretty ugly, maybe the odd color.

posted on 15 May 2013, 07:56 8

5. XaErO (Posts: 106; Member since: 25 Sep 2012)


Awesome !! .. There should be more & more display tech like IGZO replacing today's power hungry screens. I would like to see it in real to check the sunlight legibility, color reproduction and so on.

Good work .. Sharp !!

posted on 15 May 2013, 08:22 3

6. McLTE (Posts: 620; Member since: 18 Oct 2011)


That pad looks pretty nice.. however, ditch the glossy plastic please! A rubberized coating of some kind would be very very nice.

posted on 15 May 2013, 10:40 1

15. dorianb (Posts: 334; Member since: 24 Oct 2012)


Not everything should be available in white.

posted on 15 May 2013, 08:45

7. -box- (Posts: 3566; Member since: 04 Jan 2012)


Hope to see this or similar tech in other phone brands (except apple)

posted on 15 May 2013, 08:49

8. som (Posts: 768; Member since: 10 Nov 2009)


Galaxy line in Sharp phone. Apple will sue Sharp for using Apple paid display technology. Now Apple must look for other display makers.

posted on 15 May 2013, 10:18

14. chocolaking (Posts: 421; Member since: 22 May 2012)


Are you out of your mind? lol

posted on 15 May 2013, 09:10 3

9. android-jamaica (Posts: 4; Member since: 13 May 2013)


why can't the mighty, great, rich, dictator APPLE fruit make their own displays and other internal parts for it's devices? heck they can't even make their own phone shell, lol. go make your own screens you bully :(

posted on 15 May 2013, 09:19 1

10. hipnotika (Posts: 177; Member since: 06 Mar 2013)


it is revolution !!!! 9x less power ! what a tech ! look at 3rd photo !!!

posted on 15 May 2013, 11:20

16. a_merryman (Posts: 546; Member since: 14 Dec 2011)


They should release these in America too...

posted on 15 May 2013, 12:19 1

17. Jphones (Posts: 230; Member since: 10 Feb 2012)


Is it just me that sees this phone clearly clearly ripoffs the galaxy design?

posted on 15 May 2013, 14:31

19. papss (Posts: 3445; Member since: 03 Sep 2012)


No one in there right mind would copy of a copier except LG lately

posted on 15 May 2013, 17:26 1

20. k1ng617 (Posts: 234; Member since: 13 Oct 2009)


Honestly, I hope iPhones don't hog up all the supply. I'd love to see this in an LG, Moto, Sony, or HTC Android phone.

posted on 16 May 2013, 00:47

21. taikucing (unregistered)


Japan is awesome

posted on 24 May 2013, 09:10

22. jackhammeR (Posts: 1548; Member since: 17 Oct 2011)


Nokia is not innovative, right? Funny how the rest of the pack follow Nokia and copy their idea of OIS.
But, unfortunatelly, neither htc nor sharp have never done anything decent in camera department (maybe except mytouch4g)
They can put all these tech in a device but it doesn't mean that the results will be exceptional.

posted on 24 May 2013, 12:29

23. jackhammeR (Posts: 1548; Member since: 17 Oct 2011)


Nokia is not innovative, right? Funny how the rest of the pack follow Nokia and copy their idea of OIS.
But, unfortunatelly, neither htc nor sharp have never done anything decent in camera department (maybe except mytouch4g)
They can put all these tech in a device but it doesn't mean that the results will be exceptional.

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