Sharp, E Ink Collaboration Results In New Color E Poster That Leverages IGZO Technology

November 9, 2023 by Dave Haynes

E Ink and Sharp have collaborated on a color e paper display that goes beyond re-badging an existing E Ink product, combining that company’s Spectra tech with Sharp’s IGZO technology.

I absolutely had to look up IGZO, and I now kinda sorta barely understand that it is technology used for the backplanes of digital displays, replacing commonly used TFT (think film transistors) tech.

Sharp says “IGZO” is “a crystal of elements that were considered difficult to crystalize: indium, gallium, zinc and oxygen, and as such achieves a new atomic arrangement. This manufacturing secret makes for a unique crystalline structure that supports consistently stable performance. IGZO is therefore able to bring its unique capabilities, such as further enhanced picture resolution and compatibility with a growing number of display types, to the technology of tomorrow, for ever higher levels of efficiency, performance and reliability.”

Without an electrical engineering degree, it’s hard to absorb and explain how e paper and IGZO work together, but this Sharp page gets into the benefits … most notably low energy consumption and high resolution.

From PR:

E Ink, the originator, pioneer, and global commercial leader in ePaper technology, announced today that Sharp Corporation is introducing new color models of their electronic paper display ePosters that will be unveiled during the SHARP Tech-Day at the Tokyo Big Sight International Exhibition Center, November 10-12. The new ePoster combines an IGZO backplane with E Ink Spectra 6, which offers an expanded color gamut, enabling greater color saturation and contrast.

“We are honored to have been able to quickly develop the A2 size color electronic paper display ‘ePoster’ in combination with E Ink’s new Spectra™ 6 color ePaper and our IGZO technology,” said Kenichi Kimura, Sharp General Manager, Head of Digital Imaging Solutions Business Unit, Smart Business Solutions BU. “The ePoster offers a vivid color picture image and a narrow frame design while maintaining the eco-friendly performance of consuming zero energy when displaying the same content. We will continue to work closely with E Ink to revolutionize the poster industry.”

This launch marks the ongoing collaboration between Sharp and E Ink that is focused on pairing their leading technologies to deliver ePosters to the world and combining the benefits of digital innovation and sustainable development. This is the first ePoster display integrated with the E Ink Spectra™ 6 ePaper platform, which was engineered to create a full-color print-quality digital replacement for paper. The Sharp ePoster offers a high-visibility paper-like display that doesn’t consume energy to maintain an image.

“We are thrilled to introduce the new ePoster, the first color electronic paper display that utilizes our latest Spectra™ 6 ePaper and Sharp’s IGZO technology,” said Naoki Sumita, President, Sales & Marketing, Japan, of E Ink. “This is a breakthrough innovation that offers a stunning color display, a sleek design, and a zero-energy consumption that makes it an eco-friendly and cost-effective solution. We believe that the ePoster will transform the way people communicate and display information in everyday settings.”

E Ink and Sharp (not the Sharp NEC joint venture) announced three years ago that they were hooking up to develop energy-efficient e-posters. The first joint product was announced back in March – a  42-inch monochrome “ePoster” digital paper display for the Japanese market.

The new PR doesn’t get into whether this color product is for the Japanese market or will be available more broadly.

PPDS, the entity that markets Philips display technology, has also been working with E Ink to develop energy efficient color displays that the Spectra technology.

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