Sharp is taking orders for two Android-based tablets designed to be e-book readers, starting Dec. 3 for the Japanese market.
To complement the new devices, the consumer electronics maker is also launching on Dec. 10 its Tsutaya Galapagos e-bookstore, which includes about 20,000 books, magazines, videos, and newspapers and will continue to expand, the company said. By the spring of 2011, the cloud-based media service business will also be available for Sharp's smartphones. In November, Sharp signed a deal with Japan-based media company Culture Convenience Club to bring its Tsutaya content platform to the Galapagos tablets.
One of the e-book readers will feature a 5.5-inch LCD screen that will mimic a paperback book with a resolution of 1,024 x 600 pixels, and the other will have a 10.8-inch high-definition LCD screen with a resolution of 1,366 x 800 pixels for reading magazines formatted in two-page spreads. The dimensions of the 5.5-inch model are 92 x 167 x 12.9 mm. The dimensions of the 10.8-inch model are 177 x 286 x 14.7 mm. Both will support 802.11b/g wireless connectivity and come with an 8-GB microSD memory card, a built-in speaker, and a mini USB port. The 5.5-inch model will have up to seven hours of battery life while the 10.8-inch model will have up to 10.5 hours.
Users can organize content, write book reviews, and export PDF files or text to the tablets' clipboard and convert data such as documents or maps to an XMDF format for viewing. The two devices will also come with a web browser and social networking application.
The 5.5-inch e-reader will retail for 39,800 yen (about $473) and the 10.8-inch model will cost 54,800 yen (about $651). They will compete against other e-book readers including the newly launched 8-inch Asus Eee Note E800 e-reader, the Pandigital Novel e-reader, the Apple iPad, the Amazon Kindle, and Barnes & Noble Nook.
Sharp first announced the Android-based e-book readers in September.