Sharp announces Aquos Pad, the first IGZO display tablet

Sharp IGZO display
The power of IGZO

Sharp wowed crowds at IFA 2012 with its IGZO displays, and the firm has now announced the Aquos Pad SHT 21 as the first tablet to use the technology.

Coming to Japan this December, the Aquos Pad SHT 21 features a 7-inch IGZO screen with a resolution of 1280 x 800, a 1.5GHz dual-core MSM8960 Snapdragon S4 processor and 1GB of RAM.

The tablet also has a 16GB hard drive, NFC, microSDXC port, 4G LTE support and Android 4.0: Ice Cream Sandwich.

The tablet runs a 3,460mAh battery, but because of the low-power IGZO display Sharp said it can last 2.5 times longer than comparable existing tablets.

Lost in translation

There may be some translation error in that claim (Sharp's press release was in Japanese), which could actually mean the Aquos Pad SHT 21 lasts 2.5 times longer than the previous Sharp tablet.

Even if that is the case, Sharp's existing 7-inch tablet with a traditional LCD display boasts six hours of video playback, suggesting a possible 15 hours of active battery life with an IGZO display.

That is some significant battery time, well ahead of the higher capacity batteries found in the Google Nexus 7, Amazon Kindle Fire HD and even what is rumored for the iPad Mini.

The IGZO difference

IGZO isn't just a quirky-sounding gimmick, getting its name from the screen's materials: indium gallium zinc oxide.

The technology allows for screens to offer a sharper picture than a traditional LCD and, more importantly, do so while requiring significantly less power than traditional displays.

The trick is that while a display's touchscreen layer typically requires a constant stream of power, IGZO displays can stay dormant and will only activate and use extra power once the screen is pressed.

IGZO displays also provide increased touch accuracy, allowing for writing tools to be used with pixel precision. The Aquos Pad SHT 21 will include a stylus for that very reason.

There's no word yet on a release outside of Japan for the Aquos Pad SHT 21, but for the sake of everyone who's run into tablet battery trouble the mid-December Japanese launch gives hope that an international announcement will follow soon.

Via Sharp, KDDI