Sharp's Free-Form Display promises new shapes, thinner bezels

— 11:51 AM on June 18, 2014

Modern LCDs come in a multitude of different sizes, panel types, and pixel densities. They all tend to have similar rectangular shapes, though. According to display giant Sharp, that's because the associated driver circuitry is arranged around the perimeter. This placement also creates an effective border, requiring wider bezels that can disrupt multi-screen configs.

Or that's how things work in standard LCDs, anyway. Sharp has developed a new Free-Form Display that spreads the driver functionality "throughout the pixels of the display area." There are few specifics about how the approach work, though it's said to combine IGZO tech with "proprietary circuit design methods." The free-form goodness enables displays of any shape, Sharp claims, and it also reduces the bezel thickness "considerably."

The press release mentions potential applications in automobiles and wearable devices, both of which could benefit from different display shapes. Rectangular screens still make the most sense for PCs and mobile devices, but thinner bezels would be welcomed regardless. I'd love to see narrower borders around notebook and tablet displays, and slimmer bezels would definitely be beneficial for multi-screen desktop setups.

Sharp says its new display tech will enter production "at the earliest possible date," which isn't terribly specific. I suspect we'll see it in smart watches and automotive instrument panels before anything PC-related.

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