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Sharp History

1999 : Creating Demand for LCD TVs

20-Inch LCD TVs Introduced

The world's first 20-inch LCD TVs were announced in February, and sales began the following month. Their large 20-inch screen is the ideal size for a main TV in a home. With a thickness of only 4.95 cm, these TVs save space and use only 43% of the power consumed by conventional models. What's more, they can be hung on a wall or easily moved from room to room, and are available in a wide selection of design and color variations, offering users new ways to enjoy TV.

Sharp Space Town Information Service Launched

In March, Sharp launched Sharp Space Town (SST), a website providing software and information services. In addition to providing Internet access, SST offers information on such topics as employment, business and town guides. For example, users of Sharp's Zaurus PDAs can download various software and data to transform their Zaurus into a tool that best suits their needs. SST has expanded its range of original content for Sharp digital information products, including the Zaurus, notebook PCs, handheld PCs and facsimiles.


World's First MPEG-4 Internet ViewCam Released Worldwide

In March, the Internet ViewCam, the world's first video camera to use the MPEG-4 video compression standard, was released simultaneously in Japan, the US and Europe, generating a great deal of interest. Using semiconductor memory as the recording medium, the Internet ViewCam allows easy transmission of video clips over the Internet. Although ultra compact, this innovative camera can record for long periods of time, and the resulting video clips can be transferred to a PC and immediately sent as an e-mail attachment.

The Internet ViewCam has been popular since its introduction, opening the door to new possibilities in online communication, such as the ability to add video messages to websites and create "animated" online catalogs.

Semiconductor Manufacturing Technology Provided to Malaysian Firm

In March, Sharp agreed to offer its advanced semiconductor manufacturing technology to 1st Silicon, a chip manufacturer funded by the Sarawak state government. Based in Kuching, Sarawak, the company produces IC chips on consignment from other manufacturers.

Sharp provided its 0.25 µm logic CMOS micro processing technology, making it the first time for such a technology to be possessed by a Malaysian company. The company started production using the technology at its new plant during the 4th quarter of fiscal 2000.

Agreement with Taiwan's Largest Notebook PC Manufacturer

In May, Sharp formed a comprehensive business agreement that includes providing TFT LCD technology to Quanta Computer Inc., the largest notebook PC manufacturer in Taiwan.

The agreement calls for Sharp to invest in a new subsidiary of Quanta, to provide a stable supply of TFT LCD modules and other related parts, and to provide production technology. In turn, Quanta will supply Sharp with notebook PCs. The groundbreaking ceremony was completed in September and production started in 2001, eventually reaching a production capacity of 30,000 units/month.

New Microwave Oven Downloads Recipes from the Internet

In June, Sharp released the RE-M210, the world's first Internet-capable microwave oven. This one-of-a-kind microwave oven lets users download recipes from the Internet. These recipes include automatic heating instructions, allowing even novices to cook like a pro.

With more than 400 recipes available on Sharp Space Town (Sharp's Internet connection service), this innovative microwave oven is sure to help when you can't decide what to cook.

World's First 1-Bit Audio Technology Announced

In June, Sharp announced the introduction of the SM-SX100 1-bit amp, which uses the world's first high-order delta-sigma modulation 1-bit amplifier technology to reproduce sounds that are as close as possible to the original. This new technology is expected to lead the way to the world of next-generation digital audio. The technology produces ultra high-fidelity sound by digitally extracting and processing audio signals at 64 times the sampling rate of standard audio CDs, while also making possible smaller and more power-efficient equipment. Sharp's 1-bit audio technology is expected to be widely used in next-generation audio and video products, PCs, and other equipment.

Production of Large-Format LCDs for AV Equipment Starts at Mie No. 2 Plant

Sharp announced in July that the Mie No. 2 Plant (Taki-cho, Mie Prefecture) would start production of large-format TFT LCDs for digital information appliances and AV equipment in August 2000. The plant manufactures ASV (Advanced Super-V) LCDs, which deliver an ultra clear video display and have wide viewing angles rivaling those of CRT displays. The new plant was designed using AVF (Advanced Virtual Factory) computer simulation, which has enabled the creation of a plant with double the investment efficiency of previous plants.

Agreement with Major US Semiconductor Company on IC Technology

A June press release revealed that Sharp and Conexant Systems, Inc., the world's largest company specializing in communications-related semiconductors, will cooperate in developing process technology for ultra high-density 15 µm CMOS logic semiconductors intended for use in next-generation digital information appliances and communications equipment. The two companies aimed for the completion of development by the fourth quarter of fiscal 2000 and are also accelerating the use of each other's manufacturing facilities ("virtual hub") for the development of system LSIs.

Korean Sales Company Established

Following the June lifting of Japanese import restrictions that had been in effect since 1978, a joint venture was formed with the Lee Group, Sharp's Korean business partner. The new company, Sharp Electronics Inc. of Korea (SEI) is based in Seoul and operations were launched in October to expand sales in Korea.

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