On Tuesday, it was announced Qualcomm subsidiary Pixtronix will make a $US120 million investment in Sharp, of which half is payable before the end of 2012.
No timeline has been set for the remaining $60 million; in fact TechRadar reports Sharp will have to prove it is profitable by the end of the fiscal year before Qualcomm will provide any extra cash.
Recently Sharp doubled its expected full-year net loss to $5.6 billion and had its credit rating downgraded to junk status.
Qualcomm’s investment will provide Sharp with enough capital to continue developing its indium gallium zinc oxide (IZGO) displays. Regular touchscreens work by feeding a constant stream of power into the touch-receptive layer, but IZGO technology enters a sleep state to conserve power and promptly awakens whenever the screen is pressed. Consequently, IZGO LCD screens can deliver better battery life, in addition to sharper picture and smaller screen bezels.
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Sharp’s Aquos Pad will be the first product to use an IZGO display and as a result, is said to last two and a half times longer than its predecessor.
Read Sharp’s 7″ Tab: Clearer IZGO Display, Twice The Battery
At present Sharp is one the companies manufacturing screens for the new iPhone. Sharp nor Apple have revealed whether or not IZGO technology will be used in next generation iPhone or iPad.
Securing an investment from Qualcomm will give the ailing company a fighting chance. Additionally Sharp is restructuring its business, liquidating some of its assets (such as its stake in Toshiba) and cutting 10,996 employees by March 2014.