Gadgets

If this is the best Sharp can do, 2013 is going to be another tough year

Japanese electronics manufacturer Sharp showed off its latest TV and display products today at CES 2013, but if this is the best it can do, the company is in trouble.

Sharp has had a tough time the past few years. It reported tremendous losses throughout 2011 and 2012 and has planned for massive job cuts. To find a way ahead, Sharp’s focusing on new display technologies, such as 60-inch and larger TVs, 4K Ultra HD TVs, and smartphone screens.

Sharp CEO and Chairman Toshi Osawa started the conference by acknowledging that the company is struggling with various difficulties, which has attracted disappointing sales. But its business at least has some positives, he said, claiming that his company is the top seller of LED TVs measuring 60 inches or larger, as well as Sharp garnering double-digit growth in the U.S. market.

Executive vice president Kozo Takahashi then talked up Sharp’s IGZO (indium gallium zinc oxide) screen technology. IGZO, which was made in partnership with Corning, claims to use 80 percent to 90 percent less power than traditional displays, and it can provide twice the resolution of amorphous silicon displays. (Those are good things, by the way.)

Finally, Sharp executives started showing new products — mostly high-end TVs that are 60 inches or larger that will be available starting in April. Sharp will have 21 new TVs that are 60 inches and larger this year, with 60-inch, 70-inch, 80-inch, and 90-inch models. These TV screens appear beautiful and rich, but the main problem with these models is that the vast majority of consumers doesn’t have the cash to buy them.

Today’s press event mimicked last year’s CES conference, with talk of 4K and 8K TVs and an expansion in the high-end TV marketplace. The coolest thing the company talked about today was an 85-inch 8K TV that it’s working on. Yes, again, it’s cool, but it’s just a concept that won’t be available to consumers for years. And when it is available, the price will likely be astoundingly high.

Sharp hardly talked about any new screen technology for smartphones or tablets, although it could be keeping those secret in hopes of selling its latest screens to players like Apple. Let’s hope Sharp has other products up its sleeve, because 2013 will be hard year for the company if all it can do is boast about last year’s advancements.

Check out photos from the Sharp conference below.

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