Sharp Free Form LCD

While solid and reliable information on Nintendo's future hardware plans can be tough to come by, some interesting news is being reported in Japan on a partnership that's close to confirmation between Nintendo and technology company Sharp. Sources are reporting that the two companies are near to finalising a deal for the supply of advanced liquid crystal displays for future Nintendo hardware.

Intriguingly, this "Free-Form Display" allows flexibility in design as a result of a bendable bezel, allowing for a variety of potential applications. Naturally some are suggesting it could suit Nintendo's next portable hardware, while it could also be incorporated in Nintendo's Quality of Life (QOL) range, which is set to begin with a sleep sensor in 2016. Sharp has reportedly brought forward plans by a year to begin mass production in early 2016, with Nintendo set to be the first major client for the screens. The same sources are also suggesting that Nintendo's plans and designs are considering the incorporation of a hole in the centre of the screen.

Not only are credible sources reporting these details, but there's plenty of logic to the revelations. Sharp provided the screen technology for the 3DS, and the timing of production in 2016 matches a sensible timeline; with the 'New Nintendo 3DS' to take the brand through 2015, the following year could be ripe for a new generation of portable hardware, five years after the 3DS began. It'd be a shortened generation, but considering the challenges of the market wouldn't be particularly surprising; on these timelines hardware in 2017 could also make sense. The links to QOL are also logical.

With Nintendo likely keen to produce bold innovation in future hardware after the somewhat iterative 3DS, meanwhile — and the dabbling of dual screen gameplay with Wii U — this technology would certainly fit the bill. A flexible screen form factor could raise all sorts of interesting possibilities.

What do you think of this news, and how could this screen technology be used in Nintendo hardware? Share your thoughts in the comments below.