Intel hasn't strayed much from its core business, even when it got involved in SSDs, but that hasn't stopped it from investing in ventures, belonging to other companies, that can complement its own creations. Sharp's IGZO technology is one such venture.
Previewed at IFA 2012, but not overly marketed since then, surprisingly, the IGZO technology is Sharp's means of improving LCDs.
Liquid crystal displays normally use amorphous silicon for the active layer (the layer that actually produces the image).
IGZO, short for Indium gallium zinc oxide, can be used to make a transparent thin-film transistor that replaces that layer and has a forty times higher electron mobility.
This electron mobility allows for higher reaction times and/or resolutions beyond Full HD (1920 x 1080 pixels).
As of October 26, 2012, Sharp is producing 32-inch 3840 x 2160, 10-inch 2560 x 1600, 7-inch 1280 x 800 and 65 inch 4k UHDTV IGZO displays.
Intel believes IGZO could be just what ultrabooks need, according to a report. If Sharp agrees to make panels small enough, displays could be used in next-generation ultrabooks.
The aforementioned benefits, plus the better power consumption of IGZO, are a good match for upcoming Haswell central processing units (10W mobile chips).
Granted, nothing will come of this alleged partnership until next year (2013), but at least consumers have something new to look forward to.
Ultrabooks haven't exactly impressed anyone, performance- and sales-wise, but a change for the better has begun, and this new development can only bring good things on that front.
On a related note, Intel will reveal a new handset/mobile platform at MWC 2013 (Mobile World Congress). Sharp's IGZO displays could make an appearance there as well.
Intel will invest 30 billion Japanese Yen in Sharp ($370 million / 290 million Euro), unless someone else beats it to the punch. With how much money it has lost recently, Sharp can definitely use it.
Intel to Invest in Sharp's IGZO Display Technology
Third-generation ultrabooks might have different LCDs
... so hot right now