The new partnership between Foxconn and Sharp is seen as an opportunity for both companies to produce IGZO panels for Apple’s much anticipated television set.
Both Foxconn and Sharp are already suppliers of Apple, but their new alliance has been viewed by industry insiders who spoke with DigiTimes as a way for the companies to secure more orders from Apple. Specifically, it is expected that Apple may be interested in using Sharp’s technology to produce Indium Gallium Zinc Oxide (IGZO) panels for its forthcoming television.
Tuesday it was announced that that Foxconn has bought a 10 percent share in Sharp worth $808 million. The partnership looks to improve Sharp’s LCD business, which has been been bleeding money.
Sharp, a major Apple supplier, has recently begun shipments of Retina Displays to Apple. Foxconn is Apple’s primary manufacturing partner, it assembles devices for Apple, including the iPhone and iPad.
Sharp expects that the Foxconn deal will create more demand for products from its LCD factory in Sakai, Japan. The factory first opened in 2009.
The deal will make Foxconn the single largest shareholder in Sharp, which is expected to see its biggest annual loss in the company’s 99-year history. Sharp has seen revenues from HDTV panels drop, though new displays based on IGZO panels may help.
Reports are that Apple is working on its own television set. Rumors of the television have picked up steam since the release of the Steve Jobs biography written by Walter Isaacson, who revealed Jobs had told him that he felt he had “cracked” the secret to a simple and elegant television set.
Recent reports have Apple beginning to line up suppliers for the new device. Rumors have been floated about a formal product launch in late 2012.