Samsung wants in on the IGZO screen tech action, to inject $110 million in Sharp
Sharp was on the brink of collapse until very recently due to shrunk TV demand globally, and last year Apple was rumored to front it more than $1 billion to keep the sweet IGZO screens supply steady. When the consumer focus shifted from the iPad 4 to the humble iPad mini, though, Sharp started getting less utilization for its giant Kameyama plant, so the Japanese were looking for an alternative.
That savior is now coming in the form of none other but Samsung, Apple's arch rival, which is said to announce today a $110 million investment in Sharp, for about a 3% stake in the company. According to Tetsuro Ii, chief executive officer of Commons AM, a Tokyo based investment fund: "Rather than the amount of investment, it is the partnership with Samsung that Sharp gains that is important. Sharp gains an opportunity to use the Samsung platform."
It looks like the partnership will mostly be focused on large TV panels, rather than phone and tablet screens, but it remains to be seen whether Samsung will also gather access to the groundbreaking IGZO screen tech, which allows for thin and high-res panels with power-sipping abilities - something definitely in the ballpark of mobile display requirements. Qualcomm also fronted Sharp $120 million last year for joint development of the frugal IGZO screens, so the mobile industry is definitely paying attention to Sharp's technology now.