Sharp Corp announced that it will start content delivery service called "Galapagos" in Japan. For a starter, the company will provide the service for electronic book (e-book) readers and launch two tablet PCs for the service in December 2010.
At first, the service for e-book readers will offer about 30,000 contents including major Japanese newspapers, famous magazines and books. It is possible to subscribe to such contents for automatic delivery. Also, some free contents can be automatically delivered as samples. All contents are downloaded to the tablet PCs so that they can be read without an Internet connection, etc.
The service will provide contents only in Sharp's "Next-generation XMDF" file format at first. The Next-generation XMDF is a new version of the XMDF and can deal with audio and video contents. For the future, the company plans to offer contents in PDF, HTML, EPUB and other file formats. In that case, users can update the software installed in their tablet PCs.
Sharp developed an authoring tool and a content delivery system for the new service. The company will collect service charges for selling contents from users though it did not disclose the rate.
Sharp is planning to offer the service outside Japan such as in Europe and the US. But it did not mention the details.
The two tablet PCs to be released for the Galapagos service have screen sizes of 5.5 and 10.8 inches. The LCD panels of the 10.8-inch and 5.5-inch models have pixel counts of 1,024 x 600 and 1,366 x 800, respectively. Their weighs or prices have not been announced yet.
Both of the two models have a wireless LAN function. Though they do not have a 3G communication function, Sharp is considering developing tables PCs capable of 3G communication.
The operating system of the tablet PCs is Android 2.1. At first, it is not possible to access to the Android Market.
In addition to the content delivery service announced this time, Sharp intends to deliver video, music, game and textbooks in and after the spring of 2011. The word "Galapagos" means such an evolution of the service, the company said.