Sharp adds three high-PPI notebook displays based on IGZO tech


— 6:00 AM on May 16, 2013

Quite often, our biggest complaint about PC notebooks and tablets is that their display resolutions are too low. 1366x768 has become the norm even on systems with relatively large screens, and the blocky pixels are readily apparent if you've ever used a high-PPI display. Sharp is trying to address the issue with its IGZO LCD panels. The firm has already begun mass-producing a 13.3" model with a 2560x1440 display resolution. Now, it's announced plans to begin manufacturing three more IGZO sizes in June.

The 13.3" model will be joined by an 11.6-incher with the same 2560x1400 resolution. Since the screen size is smaller, the 11.6" panel has a slightly higher 253-PPI pixel density. (The 13.3" screen has only 221 pixels per diagonal inch.) If you crave something larger, 14" and 15.6" IGZO variants will be available with 3200x1800 resolutions. Those displays will boast pixel densities of 262 and 235 PPI, respectively.

To put the numbers into perspective, consider that a 1366x768 resolution would yield 100-135 PPI on the same screen sizes. At 1920x1080, you're still looking at only 141-190 PPI. As far as pixel densities are concerned, the IGZO panels are firmly in Retina territory.

High-PPI displays usually require brighter backlights to maintain the same luminance levels as their low-PPI counterparts. However, Sharp claims its IGZO tech has "increased light transmittance" and "lower rates of energy consumption." When implemented as part of touch screens, the IGZO panels purportedly suffer "less noise interference" than traditional displays, as well. They should be ideal for convertible tablets and touch-screen notebooks.

Despite putting a date on mass production, the Sharp press release makes no mention of design wins. The company could certainly use some; Sharp lost $5.4 billion last year, and it's reportedly seeking $1.5 billion in assistance from banks.

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