Report: Sharp seeking investment from Dell, Intel, and Qualcomm


— 11:30 AM on November 29, 2012

Electronics and display maker Sharp is in dire financial straits. Sales and profits have both declined, the company's stock has been downgraded to junk status, and the firm is seeking aid from outside investors. Sharp had been negotiating with contract manufacturing firm Hon Hai Precision Industry, but those talks apparently aren't progressing as planned. The Wall Street Journal now says Sharp is courting investments from Dell, Intel, and Qualcomm. It's reportedly seeking $240 million from Dell and Intel and a smaller sum from Qualcomm.

While those other firms haven't commented on the alleged negotiations, it's easy to see why they might be interested is owning a slice of Sharp. Displays have become increasingly important as the market for smartphones and tablets has exploded. Sharp has some pretty neat technology, too. According to the WSJ, Sharp is the only manufacturer making displays using IGZO, a new material that's supposed to enable screens with lower power consumption, higher pixel densities, and superior touch sensitivity.

IGZO sounds appealing, but Sharp is reportedly struggling to improve yields. The firm has, however, announced a rather interesting desktop display based on the technology. Destined for the Japanese market, the PN-K321 spreads a whopping 3840x2160 pixels across its 32" panel. This 4K display resolution works out to 8.3 megapixels, or more than double the number of dots in typical 30" monitors. Despite its impressive pixel density, the display is less than 1.4" thick. It's also supposed to cost the equivalent of about $5,500, so don't break out your credit card just yet.

Sharp started producing the 32" IGZO panels back in April. At the time, it revealed two other sizes: a 10" panel with a 2560x1600 resolution and a 7-incher with a less inspiring 1280x800 resolution. I suspect those displays will appear in more attainable devices—provided Sharp is able to stay afloat, that is.

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