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Sharp intros tablets, e-bookstore

The consumer electronics maker plans to offer an e-bookstore for Japanese customers starting in December, along with a pair tablets nicknamed Galapagos.

Sharp's new tablets.
Sharp's new tablets. Sharp

Sharp is planning to launch a new, cloud-based e-bookstore and two tablets in the Japanese market in December.

The e-bookstore will offer approximately 30,000 newspapers, magazines, and books, the company said today. It will include an "Automatic Schedule Delivery Service" for periodicals, which will allow magazine and newspaper publishers to automatically push new editions to the user's e-reader. Sharp didn't say how much content in the store will cost; it plans to reveal pricing details later this year.

In addition, Sharp introduced two tablets, bearing the Galapagos nickname, that will work with the company's e-bookstore. The first tablet, a "mobile" offering, will boast a 5.5-inch LCD display. It will come in either a red or silver finish. It boasts Wi-Fi, but no other connectivity options. According to Sharp, the smaller tablet will include a track ball to help users move around the display. It will also include a Web browser and a social-networking service that allows users to share comments and their e-book list with others.

Sharp's other option is designed for "home" use, the company said. It includes a 10.8-inch display and will only come in black. It too offers Wi-Fi, but no other connectivity. The larger option will also include a Web browser and social-networking options. However, it won't boast the trackball available in the mobile option. The larger model will force users to control on-screen content with their fingers.

Unfortunately, Sharp had little more to say about its new devices and e-bookstore. But according to Reuters, the company is in talks with Verzion to potentially bring its offering to the United States at some point in the future. Reuters also said that the Wi-Fi tablet would be Android-based, though Sharp itself didn't specify the operating system.

Sharp plans to offer more details its products closer to their launch in December. The company's release follows the successful launch of Apple's iPad in Japan in May.