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December 20, 2010

Sharp Expects to Build LCD Lines for Smartphones

By Ed Silverstein, TMCnet Contributor

Sharp (News - Alert) Corporation is expected to build LCD lines to provide liquid crystal displays for smartphones, AFP reported citing a news report from Asia.

Among the phone models that will be using the smaller and mid-size displays, will be Apple’s iPhone, says the AFP.

Apple will buy most of the panels, the Nikkei business daily reports.

Sharp will invest about $1.2 billion in the project, according to the news report.

AFP also reports that production lines are expected to be installed at the Sharp plant in Kameyama, Japan, Nikkei said. The plant was opened in 2004 to produce large LCD panels for TVs. However, the plant has sat vacant since Sharp sold production equipment to a Chinese electronics company in 2009, AFP reports.

Sharp will start installing equipment in 2011.

Mass production is expected begin in the second half of 2012, according to the Nikkei business daily.

Sharp has also supplied LCD panels for Apple's iPod.

In other company news, TMCnet reports that Sharp has chosen Atmel's (News - Alert) maXTouch mXT224 touch controller to power the SH8128U smartphone. The smartphone is currently available in China. Atmel says the new Sharp smartphone is available through China Telecom and runs on Tapas, an operating system based on the Android (News - Alert) OS. It has been optimized for the Chinese network, says TMCnet.

Multiple reports say that smartphone demand is expanding globally. That has led to investments in the technology from Japanese electronics makers. For example, Toshiba (News - Alert) expects to build a factory that will be used to make LCD supplies for Apple, the Nikkei business daily said.

In a related story, smartphones are second only to laptop computers for work-related tasks, according to a new study by Forbes Insights in association with Google (News - Alert), reports TMCnet. According to the study, 82 percent of executives use some kind of smartphone, 87 percent use laptops but 76 percent use desktop PCs. About 12 percent of those responding to the survey said that their smartphone is their most frequently used device. Also, 46 percent expect to be using either a smartphone or Web-enabled tablet most often within three years, according to TMCnet.

Ed Silverstein is a TMCnet contributor. To read more of his articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Tammy Wolf

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