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Sharp takes wide view with flat panel

The electronics maker wants to grab stock traders and graphic artists with its new 20.1-inch display. The price, however, isn't for the faint of heart.

Sharp Electronics is targeting high-end professional users with its latest flat-panel monitor.

The electronics maker announced Thursday that it has begun selling the LL-T2010W liquid-crystal display (LCD) monitor, which has a 20.1-inch area with a resolution of 1,600 pixels by 1,200 pixels. The LL-T2010W, with a price tag of $2,100, is targeted at the top 5 percent of the monitor market, professionals who buy and use displays for engineering, graphic design and stock-trading purposes, Sharp spokesman Herb Berkwits said.

"We're going after the upper pyramid of users with a relatively reasonable price for a high-resolution display," Berkwits said. "The market continues to demand higher and higher resolutions, and as the process of manufacturing improves, we can better meet that demand."

The LL-T2010W has a resolution referred to as UXGA, or Ultra XGA, which accounts for a small portion of the overall market now but which is growing as prices come down, according to iSuppli/Stanford Resources analyst Rhoda Alexander. A number of flat-panel makers, such as Samsung and Viewsonic, offer UXGA displays in 19-inch to 23-inch monitors.

In the first quarter of last year, 1,200 UXGA displays were sold for prices between $2,000 and $5,000, according to iSuppli. In this year's second quarter, 23,000 displays were sold for prices ranging from $1,500 to $4,000, with more displays selling in the lower end of that range, Alexander said.

The growth of the market for flat-panel monitors has slowed recently as supply of LCD panels--the primary and most expensive component in flat-panel monitors--has been limited, causing a rise in prices and a subsequent drop in sales.

Monitor shipments are expected to rise 7 percent in the second quarter and 3 percent in the third quarter, according to research firm DisplaySearch.