Japanese electronics company Sharp now feels the Galapagos tablet that it has been developing for some time now is now matured enough for a stint in the markets and can stand up to the likes of the iPads and the Galaxy Tabs on its own. However, it will be seen only within Japanese territory, at least for now
The date has been fixed as the 10th of December when the Galapagos tablet will be entering retail sphere in its 5.5 inch and 10.8 inch versions. However, the real surprise lies in the price tag that the tablets would be coming with. For at 39,800 yen and 54,800 yen for the 5.5 inch and 10.8 inch Galapagos respectively, it’s definitely not cheap. This comes out to a quite staggering $480 and $650 respectively in US dollar terms. But then, electronics goods in Japan were never known to be cheap. In fact, the smaller Galapagos is about a $100 more expensive than the base iPad in spite of it having almost half the display area and half the storage capacity. Pre-orders for both the devices will begin to be accepted from December 3.
Coming to the tablets themselves, both the Galapagos seems to be made more for e-book reading than anything else, which is in contrast to the iPad that it intends to rival and which is more of a general purpose mobile computing device. That said, the Galapagos too features a web browser and is known to have decent media capabilities. Also, with Android being the default OS, one can expect all the goodies that one can generally associate with the Google software. However, Sharp is yet to reveal the exact version details of the Android OS that will be doing duty on the tablets and whether one can have access to the Android Market. Sharp has also announced a relatively new format – XMDF that the new tablets will be compatible with. Both the tablets will have digital versions of magazines and newspapers delivered automatically in the new format that is known to be capable of handling advanced layouts. Social networking is another area that sources close to Sharp mention has been accorded special treatment.
Now, as for the tablet’s specifications, though nothing is available in details, what we do known is the the smaller Galapagos has a resolution of 1024 x 600 pixels which is quite impressive considering it has got just a 5.5 inch display. This is far batter than what is available on many a large sized tablets. The tablet weighs a handy 280 gms and comes with features like 802.11b/g/ WiFi, and internal memory of 8 GB microSDHC card, a trackball, and a battery life of 7 hours.
The larger Galapagos tablet with a 10.8 inch display and a resolution of 1366 x 800 pixels shares a few similarities with its smaller sibling in that its storage remains the same at an 8 GB microSDHC card while for connecting to the internet, it too features the same 802.1b/g WiFi capabilities. It weighs around 765 gms and will have a battery backup time of about 10.5 hours.
No word yet as to when it can be seen in its Pacific neighbors, in the Americas. A device from Sharp was seen with the FCC though sources point out the company is in no hurry to launch the device in the United States. However, one can expect prices to be considerably lower in the US where its Verizon that tipped to be the carrier of choice.
Sovan Mandal is the senior tablet and tech corespondent for goodereader.com. He brings a international approach to news that is not just applicable to the North American market, but also Asia, India, Europe and others. Sovy brings his own writing flavor to the website and is interested in Science Fiction, Technology and Writing. Any questions, send an email