Japan's Sharp Corp. said Monday it will launch an e-bookstore service in December with two new "Galapagos" tablet readers, with the service set to expand to movies, games and music early next year.
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 periodic software updates, it said.
It will offer a mobile device with a 5.5-inch LCD screen and a trackball for one-handed operation, as well as a device aimed at the home user with a 10.8-inch screen on which magazines can be read across a two-page spread.
In doing so, Sharp will enter an increasingly crowded market looking to exploit the popularity of gadgets such as Apple's iPad and the iBooks store and Amazon's Kindle range of e-readers.
Rival Sony has announced a similar e-book plan jointly with telecoms operator KDDI, the Asahi Shimbun newspaper company and the Toppan printing company. Top mobile carrier NTT DoCoMo has teamed up with Dai Nippon Printing.