Or at least that is what they hope to accomplish; as with any new tech the final step of getting it into production is often the trickiest.
For the past number of years, Sharp has been working with Pixtronix, a small Boston-based subsidiary of Qualcomm, to integrate that company’s MEMs type screen with Sharp’s low-power IGZO backplane.
The quality of Pixtronix’s screen is higher than competing low-power screen tech, including screens from Amazon’s Liquavista, Japan Display, Pixel Qi, and even Qualcomm’s own Mirasol. On the other hand, it’s not quite as pretty as Samsung’s “low-power” screens, which reduced power consumption by squeezing the pixels into a smaller area and letting more backlight leak around each pixel.
If and when the Pixtronix tech hits the market it is hoped that it will offer a low-power and high-quality alternative to existing LCD and OLED screens, many of which are power-hungry.
Or at least that is what every one hopes will happen; while I have seen the screen and can attest to its quality, I don’t know of any real world tests that show a tablet built around this screen will gain anything in terms of battery life.
Pixtronix, which was acquired by Qualcomm in late 2011, has been showing off this screen tech since at least 2010 (every year, like clockwork). They were working with a number of screen tech manufacturers, including Hitachi, Samsung, and Chimei Innolux, and there was even a report in 2012 that Samsung would release a screen based on Pixtronix’s tech in 2013.
And now it seems that Sharp is the only manufacturing partner. Not so coincidentally, Qualcomm became the third largest investor in Sharp last June.
The first screen size scheduled to come off the production line next year will measure 7″ and have a resolution of 1,280 x 800. It is due out in the first half of 2015. Sharp plans to ship the screen on a tablet running Android 4.4.
To be honest, I’m not sure we’re going to see it. But if we are really lucky we might see this new screen and a new screen from Liquavista. That is what I am hoping for, anyway.