Sharp plans to offer an e-book distribution service and two new e-reader devices later this year that will also allow users to watch video and listen to audio content.
The two e-readers are in prototype stage right now, one will be 5.5 inches and the larger one will have a large 10.8 display. Both of the units feature color touch screens. They will read the popular XMDF format which is very large in Japan because it bridges the gap between text and video content.
“The next-generation XMDF enables easy viewing of digital content including video and audio and allows automatic adjustment of the layout to match and meet publishers’ needs,” Sharp said in a statement.
“Now there is a lot of attention on the e-publishing business,” Masami Obatake, a senior Sharp official, told a news conference. “Launching it by the end of this year will be good timing.”
In Japan right now, there are many companies trying to break new ground and distribute e-books via key partnerships. Sony and mobile phone operator KDDI Corp are teaming up to distribute e-books, and setting to release a localized version of the Sony E-Reader. Google also plans to launch their Google Editions E-Book service to Japan by the end of the year. Sharp has claimed several key partnerships in Japan and abroad, but no names or details have since been announced.
This is certainly a golden time for Sharp and others to enter the e-book and content distribution system as Amazon said yesterday that the sales of hard-back books where surpassed by the sales of E-books – they said for every 100 hard-backs they are sell, they’re selling a 180 E-Books.
Speaking of e-books, if you have an e-reader or Slate/Tablet PC, check out the Good E-Reader E-Book Store.
Michael Kozlowski is the Editor in Chief of Good e-Reader. He has been writing about audiobooks and e-readers for the past ten years. His articles have been picked up by major and local news sources and websites such as the CBC, CNET, Engadget, Huffington Post and the New York Times.