Japanese consumer electronics company Sharp has developed a new liquid-crystal display (LCD) technology for small screens used on mobile devices. The company claims CG-Silicon, as the LCD technology is called, is thinner, brighter and consumes less power than present technology. CG-Silicon allows the LCD system integrated circuits to be built into the same substrate as the LCD. 'This means a processor can be built into the glass of the LCD as part of the process, allowing for greater product design flexibility and low power consumption,' said Hideaki Kamitsuma, Sharp's corporate director and group general manager of international marketing group - communication products. Sharp is already using CG-Silicon technology in its new line of digital video camcorder - the Viewcam series. Models VL-Z1U, VL-Z3U, VL-Z5U and VL-Z7U are equipped with 2.5-inch colour CG-Silicon screens. The new Sharp GX22 mobile phone will also feature the new LCD technology. Mr Kamitsuma said the technology would compete with Organic Light Emitting Diodes (OLEDs) for a piece of the fast-growing small screens market. OLED technology, which is also low on power consumption, can be used to create into flexible screens, such as those wrapped around a cylindrical surface. OLED screens can be viewed from any angle and do not need backlighting. The Sharp technology uses an LED backlight system. Kodak and Motorola use OLED screens on some digital cameras and handsets. The market for OLEDs is forecast to grow from US$85 million last year to US$3 billion in 2007, propelled by mobile phone, personal digital assistant (PDA) and camera applications, according to market research and consulting firm DisplaySearch. Taiwan and South Korea lead in OLED manufacturing, but the volumes produced are not large. The report predicts that five applications - mobile phones, mobile phone sub-displays, PDAs, digital cameras and camcorders - will account for most of the rapid growth. By 2007, OLEDs are expected to hold a greater than 4 per cent share of the flat-panel display market. The competing technology from Sharp is based on proprietary Sharp technology and is more costly to license and produce than OLED. Sharp's CG-Silicon technology, however, produces a better continuous image and high-quality motion video images. OLED has not achieved the same level of clarity and the images tend to be spotty and blotchy. In the long run, OLED is expected to replace LCD technology because it will achieve superior image and colour clarity, have higher switching rates and is cheaper to produce. Sharp, which leads the world in LCD manufacturing, is trying to preserve the longevity of LCD technology with new technology such as CG-Silicon. Mr Kamitsuma dismissed the OLED threat, saying: 'CG-Silicon LCDs are expected to pave the way for the sheet computer in the future. It can handle large amounts of information.' Sharp is researching new LCD technologies, such as 3D LCDs, which do not require the use of special glasses, and plastic thin-film transistor liquid-crystal displays, which can be folded.