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Sharp Corp will release its "Galapagos" electronic book (e-book) reader Dec 10, 2010, in Japan.

The price of the e-book reader is ¥39,800 (approx US$474) for a model equipped with a 5.5-inch LCD panel and ¥54,800 for a model with a 10.8-inch LCD panel. The company will start accepting orders Dec 3, 2010.

Sharp will open its online store, "Tsutaya Galapagos," Dec 10, 2010, with about 20,000 contents such as newspapers, magazines and books for the e-book reader. Sony Corp will launch its "Reader" e-book reader and the Reader Store, an online store for it, on the same day.

This time, Sharp announced the specifications of the Galapagos including its weight. The weight of the 5.5-inch model is about 220g, which is heavier than the 5-inch and 6-inch models of Sony's Reader (about 155g and 215g, respectively).

The Reader is lighter partly because it uses electronic paper, which does not require backlight. The weight of the Apple Inc's "iPhone4" smartphone, which has a 3.5-inch LCD panel, is 137g.

On the other hand, the weight of the 10.8-inch model is about 765g, which is heavier than the 680g of Apple's iPad (9.7-inch LCD panel, Wi-Fi model). When powered by batteries, the 5.5-inch and 10.8-inch models can be continuously used for about seven and 10.5 hours, respectively.