Sony and Sharp launch e-readers, tablets in Japan

Sony and Sharp upped the rivalry stakes in the heated e-reader and tablet market with the head-to-head launch on Friday of their latest devices in Japan, along with tens of thousands of e-book titles.

Sony, battling Amazon and Apple in the electronic book reader race, on Friday launched its Reader range in Japan along with a dedicated virtual library, after launching in 13 other countries including the US.

The move marked a return to Japan for the electronic giant's e-reader business since it left in 2007 after seeing low demand at a time when Japanese consumers were focused on mobile phone books.

Sharp meanwhile launched its multifunctional Galapagos tablet computer in a bid to rival Apple's iPad. The device allows users to read e-books, as well as major newspapers and popular magazines, delivered at designated times.

The name is a pun on the term "Galapagos Syndrome" - in reference to the isolated islands that helped Charles Darwin form his theory of evolution - and its association with Japan's tendency to be less influenced by global trends.

Earlier Japanese mobile phones made by the likes of Sharp or Fujitsu were years ahead of their time in terms of offering Internet access, and provided cameras and mobile payment options before others as well as live television.

But smartphones such as Samsung's Galaxy S and Apple's iPhone are providing stronger competition with third generation handsets sold in Europe or the United States now working in Japan.

Sharp's new brand represents a shift for the company from conventional one-off sales of stand-alone products to devices that will continue to "evolve" through software updates, it says.

Sharp will offer about 24,000 e-book titles for the Galapagos, while Sony has around 20,000 titles for the Reader.

While Sharp is taking orders for the Galapagos only via mail or the Internet, Sony is selling its Reader at retail shops.

Sharp will initially deliver only electronic books, magazines and newspapers for the Galapagos and start online music, video and game services next spring.

Sony said it is also considering distributing newspapers, comics and magazines. But it has made no decision on when they would be launched.

The success of Apple's iPad has sent electronics makers scrambling to gain a slice of the growing tablet computer and e-reader market.

The Galapagos, equipped with wireless telecom functions, comes in two models - a 10.8-inch screen priced at 54,800 yen (655 dollars) and a 5.5-inch screen for 39,800 yen.

Unlike the colour Galapagos or iPad, the Sony Reader uses black-and-white e-ink technology.

Sony has cut the size and weight of its e-readers while expanding the use of touch technology to all models - allowing users to turn pages with a swipe of the finger like the iPad.

The Reader Pocket Edition and Reader Touch Edition will initially be available in about 300 Japanese stores, selling for 20,000 yen and 25,000 yen.

The group hopes to sell 300,000 e-readers in Japan in the first year and expects a 50 percent market share by 2012, the company said.

It also recently created a joint venture with Japan's second-largest telecom operator KDDI, the Asahi newspaper group and printing technology firm Toppan to offer services for a variety of devices.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Arts and Entertainment
Madonna is not in Twitter's good books after describing her album leak as 'artistic rape and terrorism'
music
Arts and Entertainment
Tony Hughes (James Nesbitt) after his son Olly disappeared on a family holiday in France
tv
Arts and Entertainment
The Apprentice candidates Roisin Hogan, Solomon Akhtar, Mark Wright, Bianca Miller, Daniel Lassman
tvReview: But which contestants got the boot?
Arts and Entertainment
Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels ride again in Dumb and Dumber To
filmReview: Dumb And Dumber To was a really stupid idea
News
people

Jo from Northern Ireland was less than impressed by Russell Brand's attempt to stage a publicity stunt

Extras
indybest
Sport
Scunthorpe goalkeeper Sam Slocombe (left) is congratulated by winning penalty taker Miguel Llera (right)
football
Life and Style
A woman walks by a pandal art installation entitled 'Mars Mission' with the figure of an astronaut during the Durga Puja festival in Calcutta, India
techHow we’ll investigate the existence of, and maybe move in with, our alien neighbours
Arts and Entertainment
Sir Ian McKellen tempts the Cookie Monster
tvSir Ian McKellen joins the Cookie Monster for a lesson on temptation
News
i100
Travel
Tourists bask in the sun beneath the skyscrapers of Dubai
travelBritish embassy uses social media campaign to issue travel advice for festive holiday-makers in UAE
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Gadgets & Tech

    Ashdown Group: IT Analyst / Helpdesk - 2 Month Contract - £15ph - High Wycombe

    £15 per hour: Ashdown Group: IT Analyst / Helpdesk - 2 Month Contract - £15ph ...

    Recruitment Genius: Automation Test Analyst

    £35000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This group is the world's secon...

    Ashdown Group: Service Desk Analyst - Application Support - Central London

    £30000 - £35000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Service Desk Analyst (App...

    Ampersand Consulting LLP: 3rd Line Support Engineer (Windows Server, Exchange Server)

    £35000 per annum + Benefits: Ampersand Consulting LLP: 3rd Line Support Engine...

    Day In a Page

    Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

    Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

    Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
    Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

    Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

    The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
    Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

    Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

    The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
    Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

    The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

    Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas
    La Famille Bélier is being touted as this year's Amelie - so why are many in the deaf community outraged by it?

    Deaf community outraged by La Famille Bélier

    The new film tells the story of a deaf-mute farming family and is being touted as this year's Amelie
    10 best high-end laptops

    10 best high-end laptops

    From lightweight and zippy devices to gaming beasts, we test the latest in top-spec portable computers
    Michael Carberry: ‘After such a tough time, I’m not sure I will stay in the game’

    Michael Carberry: ‘After such a tough time, I’m not sure I will stay in the game’

    The batsman has grown disillusioned after England’s Ashes debacle and allegations linking him to the Pietersen affair
    Susie Wolff: A driving force in battle for equality behind the wheel

    Susie Wolff: A driving force in battle for equality behind the wheel

    The Williams driver has had plenty of doubters, but hopes she will be judged by her ability in the cockpit
    Adam Gemili interview: 'No abs Adam' plans to muscle in on Usain Bolt's turf

    'No abs Adam' plans to muscle in on Usain Bolt's turf

    After a year touched by tragedy, Adam Gemili wants to become the sixth Briton to run a sub-10sec 100m
    Calls for a military mental health 'quality mark'

    Homeless Veterans campaign

    Expert calls for military mental health 'quality mark'
    Racton Man: Analysis shows famous skeleton was a 6ft Bronze Age superman

    Meet Racton Man

    Analysis shows famous skeleton was a 6ft Bronze Age superman
    Garden Bridge: St Paul’s adds to £175m project’s troubled waters

    Garden Bridge

    St Paul’s adds to £175m project’s troubled waters
    Stuff your own Christmas mouse ornament: An evening class in taxidermy with a festive feel

    Stuff your own Christmas mouse ornament

    An evening class in taxidermy with a festive feel
    Joint Enterprise: The legal doctrine which critics say has caused hundreds of miscarriages of justice

    Joint Enterprise

    The legal doctrine which critics say has caused hundreds of miscarriages of justice
    Freud and Eros: Love, Lust and Longing at the Freud Museum: Objects of Desire

    Freud and Eros

    Love, Lust and Longing at the Freud Museum