In his effort to build the Sharp brand image in the United States, new senior VP Rick Calacci said the company will soon offer a number of "one-of-a-kind products," including digital cameras, camcorders and PDAs with ultra-high-resolution liquid crystal screens.
Calacci, speaking with reporters here this month, said Sharp engineers in Japan are working on adapting its Continuous Grain Silicon (CGS) liquid crystal technology to place ultra-high-resolution screens in the handheld devices. CGS produces a panel with superior contrast, resolution and power consumption requirements to standard LCD.
Calacci said he was recently given a preview of a CGS-based hand-held Xaurus PDA in Japan which had a screen so sharp that he could perfectly read the columns in an Excel spreadsheet.
Bob Scaglione, Sharp Consumer Electronics Group marketing VP, said that while Sharp showed prototypes of CGS rear-projection HDTV monitors in the recent past, it found the technology was still price prohibitive for that approach.
"But we found there are multiple uses for CGS," Scaglione pointed out. "With digital cameras, we've found that since the resolution is so fine for CGS that we could utilize it to view not only images but very clear data to show the status of the setting on the camera or camcorder."
As for new TV displays, Calacci said Sharp is getting out of CRT-based rear projection, while the company continues to work with CGS and other alternative light engines for the category. (DLP stands a strong replacement possibility).
Calacci said Sharp would have a rear-projection TV with an alternative light engine (to be determined) "by mid-2003 at the latest." The company is planning to show dealers key 2003 products at a line show in San Diego next month.
"Our goal is to market new products that bring new form factors, new technologies and new lifestyle approaches to the business," Calacci said. (See July 8 issue, p. 1, for further information on company strategy.)
Calacci said the product development mission is being applied to all areas of Sharp business, ranging from TV displays to home appliances.
The primary thrust of that effort will come from Sharp's liquid crystal production division, which he said continues to lead the world in the development and manufacture of LCDs for a wide range of applications.