Sharp's Line-up of Low Power LCDs


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Memory LCDs for low-power applications are available in two technology variants: High-reflective (HR) models (left) can be read very well from all sides; Polymer Network Liquid Crystal (PNLC) models (right) provide a silver-metallic appearance and are also suited for fashionable applications

Sharp has introduced Memory LCDs in new sizes: two 2.7-inch (LS027B4DN01, LS027B4DH01) displays with a resolution of 400 x 240 and a 2.94-inch (LS029B4DN01) model with a resolution of 456 x 240 pixels. Sharp is now planning the introduction of a 6.02-inch model in order to specifically address the e-books market and other portable reading devices. For this market segment, Sharp will supplement the range with transflective and touchscreen models in the second half of the year. Unlike the usual reflective memory LCDs, transflective memory LCDs offer the option of adding backlighting so that e-books or other applications can also be used in the dark. Memory LCDs with touchscreen ensure that these devices are user friendly. Thanks to the capacitive touchscreen, e-books can be designed in such a way that readers can turn the pages almost like a paper book. These innovative System LCDs are based on Sharp's own Continuous Grain Silicon (CGS) technology. This enables it to equip each pixel with a 1-bit memory that stores the image information uploaded onto the screen. Image information therefore only needs to be rewritten in those pixels in which the content has changed compared to the previous picture frame. As reflective displays, Memory LCDs do not require any backlighting. The combined effect means that memory LCDs only have 0.8 percent of the power consumption of conventional displays of the same size. Standard LCDs with backlight have a power consumption that is around 130 times greater than that of the newly developed memory LCDs. A 1.35-inch memory LCD uses 15μW in operation, whereas a standard LCD of comparable size requires around 2mW displaying an image. Memory LCDs offer a unique image representation. Unlike other reflective displays, this new type of LCD does not require polarisers. Thanks to a special PNLC material, the image is generated by the status of the pixel changing from transparent to white with a reflectivity of 50%. This gives the display a silver-metallic appearance that is particularly suited to fashionable applications. With a slightly more conventional version of the memory LCDs, polarisers and high-reflective (HR) liquid crystals are used. They supply a purely black-and-white image with superb legibility and a very broad viewing angle. Small solar cells can supply sufficient electricity to run the new Memory LCDs which are thus an ideal solution for small portable applications such as, for instance, e-books, wristwatches, heart rate monitors and other fitness devices, shelf labelling, etc. Using solar cells as a source of power, such systems can even be designed as self-sufficient applications. In order to simplify the design-in for such energy self-sufficient solutions, Sharp also offers memory LCDs as 3-volt models so that when operated with conventional lithium ion rechargeable batteries, no charge pump is required in between. The new 6.02 inch display is already designed for this supply voltage and four other memory LCDs that are expected to be launched on the market in the second half of 2010 also only require the lower supply voltage. The new memory LCDs are already available in 1.35-inch, 2.7-inch and 2.94-inch diagonals from the sales offices of Sharp in Europe and through distributors. Samples of the 6.0-inch models are anticipated to be available in Q2 2010.