Currently, notebook PCs with high-quality, active-matrix LCDs are priced from $4,500. IBM's popular ThinkPad 760 with a 12.1-inch active-matrix display, for example, is priced well over $5,000. The new Sharp display, however, could drive prices down by as much as $1,000 for these notebooks.
The company's new "Sharp-addressing" LCDs are designed to offer better image quality than the the dual-scan LCDs now widely used and even approach that of expensive active-matrix displays. "Sharp-Addressing" is an enhancement to passive-matrix technology, the basic technology used in the dual-scan LCDs popular in low-cost notebook PC lines. Dual-scan displays are cheaper than the active-matrix alternatives but have always been plagued by "ghosting" and slow response times, making them inadequate for video.
But Sharp says it has closed the quality gap in a number of important ways with Sharp-addressing displays that offer better contrast and clarity and are able to handle full-motion video better than dual-scan displays.
The company will start volume production of 11.3-inch and 12.1-inch Sharp-addressing LCDs for notebooks immediately. Although Sharp has not disclosed exact pricing, the cost to notebook manufacturers for these displays is expected to fall well below $1,000 and even approach the $500 mark, less than half the cost of many 11.3- and 12.1-inch active-matrix LCDs.
In addition, Sharp plans to produce large-screen 1024-by-768-pixel color displays that can be used as CRT monitor replacements on the desktop. In June, Sharp will begin manufacturing 17.7-inch 1024-by-768-pixel screens with prices of between $1,300 and $1,400. The 15-inch version will be under $1,000, and the 13.8-inch version will be well under $1,000.
"Thin CRT" notebooks on way