Within the last month, Nintendo has announced a cheaper and more portable version of the Switch in the upcoming Switch Lite, along with a hardware revision for the existing Switch boasting greatly improved battery life among other improvements.
But now, while we wait for these systems to hit the market, it seems the Switch is getting another upgrade in the form of a new display. According to a report by the Wall Street Journal, Japanese electronics maker Sharp will supply IGZO screens to Nintendo for use in future Switch models.
If true, this would be a major improvement for the Switch and possibly the Switch Lite, as one of the biggest complaints about the Switch is Nintendo’s use of lacklustre display tech.
By opting to use Sharp’s screens in the Switch, Nintendo could take advantage of the smaller transistors used in IGZO displays to increase the system’s overall power efficiency. Screens based on IGZO tech — which is an acronym for the indium gallium zinc oxide used to make Sharp’s semiconductors — tend to have better transparency than silicon-based displays, which reduces the need for brighter backlighting, and could even help eliminate the cloudiness or haziness that often plagues the current Switch’s screen.
Just last week, Nintendo finally announced the Switch Lite — a cheaper and more portable version of the classic Switch but without the original’s TV docking support. However, it seems the Switch Lite wasn’t the only hardware upgrade Nintendo had planned, because now Nintendo has announced a new model for the standard Switch with some refreshed components and nearly double the battery life.
IGZO displays also suffer from less noise compared to other forms of display tech — a feature that Sharp claims makes its screens more sensitive to touch input. So in short, future Switch models could feature displays with brighter, richer colours that are more responsive to touch, which seems like a win all-around.
That said, IGZO still can’t match the colour gamut or contrast ratios typically seen in OLED displays, which have become common on a lot of mid-range and high-end smartphones such as the iPhone XS and Galaxy S10, and the original version of the PS Vita.
And while Nintendo has officially said the Switch Lite will be the only “new” Switch Nintendo hardware released this year, that doesn’t mean these Sharp’s IGZO screens won’t show up on something like a Switch Pro in the future.