Struggling Japanese TV maker Sharp is in talks with both Dell and Intel as it battles for survival.In Australia, the Company is set to come under pressure in the large screen TV market with Gerry Harvey, Chairman of Harvey Norman, set to launch the new LG Ultra High Definition 84″ TV at one of his NSW stores later today. This TV and the $9,499 75″ Samsung TV, which is currently on back order due to unprecedented demand, is set to start eroding the market share that Sharp has gained this year with their $9,000 80″ TV.
Desperate for cash and bleeding billions in losses, Sharp has turned to US companies as they battle with Taiwan contract-manufacturing giant Hon Hai Precision Industry who make the bulk of products for Apple .
Among the companies who are in discussions with Sharp are Dell, Intel and Qualcomm.
According to the Wall Street Journal, Sharp is considering an investment of as much as $244 million from both Dell and Intel, while discussing a smaller investment from Qualcomm. The investment might come in the form of equity or debt, one of the WSJ’s sources said.
Sharp’s financial condition is dire: the company is forecasting a second straight year of record losses; is currently burning through cash; and has had their shares rated as “junk”.
The situation is so bad the Company warned earlier in November it is facing conditions that could raise uncertainties about its future.
What Sharp is hoping to achieve is a breakthrough for a new liquid-crystal-display technology called IGZO which is manufactured from indium gallium zinc oxide.
Sharp claims that the IGZO display technology has several advantages over silicon-based screens.
According to Sharp, the new displays don’t consume as much power, extending the battery life of mobile devices. Sharp said the technology also increases the number of pixels per inch to allow for sharper resolution, and enables touch screens to be more accurate and sensitive.
The WSJ notes while the technology holds great promise to solve many of the limitations of current smartphones, tablet computers and laptops, the displays aren’t easy to manufacture. Sharp has struggled with low production yields for the IGZO displays, limiting the availability and increasing the manufacturing costs of the screens. So far, Sharp is the only company manufacturing displays using IGZO.