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Thursday, August 02, 2012
Sharp to Cut 5,000 Jobs, Plans Start Shipping iPhone Screens This Month

Sharp is cutting 5,000 jobs over the next year, after its quarterly loss ballooned from a year earlier. The company also said it will start shipping screens for a new Apple iPhone.

Sharp reported Thursday that its April-June loss swelled to 138.4 billion yen ($1.8 billion) from 49 billion yen of red ink a year earlier.

Quarterly sales plunged 28 percent to 458.6 billion yen ($5.9 billion) as sales crashed in liquid crystal displays, flat-panel TVs and mobile phones.

Sharp forecast a bigger loss for the business year through March 2013. It now expects a 250 billion yen ($3.2 billion) loss compared with the 30 billion yen ($385 million) loss it projected earlier.

Sharp said the jobs cuts will come through voluntary and mandatory retirement and other arrangements.

Shipments of IGZO (indium, gallium, zinc) screens for the new iPhone will start in August, Sharp's president Takashi Okuda said at a press briefing in Tokyo on Thursday after the company released its latest quarterly earnings.

Sharp says that the new displays cut power consumption by up to 90% and allow for far greater detail at the same transparency, keys for prolonging the battery life of portable devices.

Sharp will spend a total amount of 14,272 millions Yen on the development a framework for the conversion of production to LCD panels using IGZO technology, along for the reconstruction of its busines sites in Europe.

Apple is planning a major product launch on Sept 12, stoking speculation that the company will announce the sale of its redesigned iPhone.

Sharp is one of three companies expected to build the screens for the latest Apple offering. The other two suppliers of the panels are LG Display and Japan Display Inc.

Apple is equipping the next iPhone with a larger screen after Samsung unveiled its latest Galaxy S3 smartphone with a 4.8-inch touch-screen.

The iPhone screens will also be thinner than their previous incarnations with the use of so-called in-cell panels. The new technology embeds touch sensors into the liquid crystal display, eliminating the touch-screen layer found in current iPhones.

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