Sharp Launching Two E-Readers And A Bookstore This December

The e-reader market is continuing to explode, despite the fact that tablets have taken over as the major hype machine in the consumer electronics business. Kindle sales have been hotter than ever, and companies are still thinking up ways to rival both it and the iPad. Look at Sharp for example, which has just revealed two new e-reader tablets in very different sizes, both of which are likely to rival the iPad and Kindle in different ways.

In conjunction with an e-Bookstore announcement, Sharp has unveiled a new 5.5" and 10.8" e-reader. The 5.5" version is designed for pockets, and it's one of the smallest e-readers we have seen to date. It has a 1024x600 screen resolution, 802.11b/g Wi-Fi, a nav trackball and support for Sharp's incoming e-Bookstore. The 10.8" model is mostly the same except for a nicer 1366x800 screen resolution.

Both of the hardware devices are reserved for Japan at this point, but if sales are up, there is always a chance that Sharp will bring them to other parts of the world. The GALAPAGOS cloud-based media service is just yet another "app store" of sorts, and it will be launching this December with the two e-readers. Features like Automatic Scheduled Delivery Service for magazines and free trial versions of recommended e-book content are highlights, but again, there is no plan to move it from Japan at the moment.

Sharp to start first E-bookstore Service from December with "GALAPAGOS" E-Book Reader

Launch of Cloud-Based Media Service Business Offering a New User Experience

Sharp Corporation will launch a new cloud-based media service business, named "GALAPAGOS", to provide a new user experience, while evolving to meet each customer's changing needs with a network service and device specifically designed for the Japanese market. The first effort in this area will be an e-bookstore service that is planned to begin in December of this year. Two compatible tablet terminals have been developed specifically as e-book readers and will be introduced at the same time.

This new e-bookstore provides an "Automatic Scheduled Delivery Service" (fee-based service) for periodical publications. The most recent editions of newspapers and magazines a user has subscribed to can be delivered and read by the user's e-book readers. In addition, free trial versions of recommended e-book content can also be delivered to the e-book reader, letting users immediately purchase content of their favor.

Two models of the e-book readers have been developed - a mobile type featuring a 5.5-inch LCD screen that reads like a paperback book, and a home type featuring a 10.8-inch high-resolution HD LCD that allows users to enjoy magazines formatted across a two-page spread.

Sharp will continue to provide for evolving e-book lifestyles by further enriching the content available through the service, and by expanding the functions of compatible terminal devices.

E-bookstore Service (overview)

Start of service December, 2010 (Planned)
Content lineup (at time of launch) Approx. 30,000 newspapers, magazines, and books
* Details of the service, such as content and price are scheduled to be announced separately in conjunction with the start of the service.

E-book Reader/Tablet Terminal (overview)


Mobile type
5.5-inch LCD
(1,024 × 600 pixels)

Home type
(1,366 × 800 pixels)

Communication function Wireless LAN (IEEE 802.11b/g)
* Details about the e-book readers, including the specific date of introduction, will be announced separately.

Major Features

1. "Automatic Scheduled Delivery Service" for periodical publications, including newspapers and magazines. Content from the most recent editions can be delivered and read whenever desired.
2. Rich graphic capabilities and an easy-to-use interface that give full consideration to the book culture of Japan.
3. "Evolution" of the terminal devices with periodic software updates.
"GALAPAGOS" was chosen as the name for Sharp's cloud-based media service business, as a symbol of the "evolution" of services and terminal devices that constantly bring fresh, new experiences to the user. The name comes from the famous Galapagos Islands, which were visited by Charles Darwin (1809–1882), a British geologist and biologist. The observations he made while on the islands played a key role in the formulation of his "theory of evolution".

Major Features

1. "Automatic Scheduled Delivery Service" for periodical publications, including newspapers and magazines. Content from the most recent editions can be read whenever desired.
- Users can receive and enjoy the most recent editions of newspapers and magazines, automatically delivered at a pre-arranged time. (Prior service registration subject to fees is required)
- The users can categorize and organize the downloaded content by categories, including "unread / recommended", "most recently read", "favorite", and "scheduled delivery".
- The free trial version of e-book content will be automatically delivered from the e-book store. Contents that the users find interesting can be purchased immediately.
- The downloaded content will be stored on an e-book, and users can enjoy the e-book content even in a place without wireless network services.

2. Rich graphic capabilities and easy-to-use interface that give full consideration to the book culture of Japan.
- Complies with XMDF e-book format, to support Japanese expressions such as vertical writing and ruby. When users enlarged content on previous mobile terminals, the display needed to be scrolled to see the content fully. Content complying with XMDF format enables adapting to a change of font sizes without altering the content and picture layout.

3. Evolution of the terminal devices with periodic software updates.
- Automatic software updates of the media tablet will enable users to enjoy not just XMDF format content, but other e-book content services also, including various software applications. Users can enjoy the evolution of terminal devices with periodic software updates.

Other Features

- Track ball feature in the mobile type with 5.5-inch screen. Users can rotate the track ball like a PC mouse and can flip the pages with one hand.
- Sharp's e-book application software for PC "GALAPAGOS Station" enables users to organize downloaded content on PCs. Users can mark and add comments on the e-book content.
- PC data, including documents and maps, can be converted to XMDF format, and can be viewed on the media tablet.
- Web browser will display websites for PCs on a high resolution LCD screen.
- Pre-installed social network service application enables sharing readers' comments and e-book list with friends.