Sharp has announced plans to release two Android-based e-readers
for the Japanese market in December and says it expects to sell 1 million units during the first year. The company chose the ‘Galapagos’ moniker for its e-reader assault, in reference to the Ecuadorian island that inspired Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection, supposedly to denote the company’s shift from conventional one-off sales of stand-alone products to devices that will continue to "evolve" through periodic software updates. The range includes a 5-inch unit featuring a trackball for one-handed operation, and a 10.8-inch model that supports a two-page, magazine spread format.
Both devices will be XMDF compatible for integrating multimedia elements into the e-reading experience. They’ll also have 802.11b/g Wi-Fi on board and feature “Automatic Scheduled Delivery Service” for periodical publications, allowing users to buy magazine or newspaper subscriptions rather than having to purchase each issue independently. The December launch will see a Japanese e-book and e-newspaper store set up with about 30,000 titles and Sharp is reportedly already in talks with Verizon Wireless for a U.S. launch. Unfortunately, details such as pricing, Android version or full hardware specifications are unavailable for now.
Sharp is sure to face a tough battle against products like Amazon's Kindle and the Barnes and Noble Nook. Further down the road the company also plans to deliver music, video and games content, which means the company is also looking to rival multipurpose mobile devices like the Apple iPad or Samsung's Galaxy Tab.