Sharp Shifts Focus from PCs to Tablets

By Cindy Waxer October 22, 2010

Sharp is bidding farewell to its PC manufacturing arm, and will instead focus its resources on its Galapagos tablet PC and mobile terminals, the company announced.

"Our intention is to shift from just selling the product to expand to the business model of contents services business in addition to e-book product sales," said Miyuki Nakayama, a Sharp spokeswoman.

The news comes from Nikkei, which reports that Sharp believes trying to squeeze a profit from its standalone products will be “difficult.” Sharp ceased producing PCs last year. The company, once known for manufacturing the world’s smallest and lightest notebook PC with both an internal hard drive and floppy disk drive, last launched a notebook PC a year ago.

Representing a shift from hardware sales to content delivery, Sharp unveiled the Galapagos tablet in December. The Android-based device comes in 5.5-inch and 10.8-inch sizes, has onboard games and a custom social network, and features a Japanese-language e-book reader along with an online magazine and bookstore with about 30,000 titles. Sharp intends to expand the content to include music and video in the coming months.

Although Sharp is positioning the devices as e-readers, the company has a ways to go before catching up with Amazon’s Kindle. The U.S. Kindle Store now has more than 720,000 books, including new releases and 108 of 111 New York Times Best Sellers.

What’s more, Amazon just began shipping a new Kindle that offers an electronic-ink screen with 50 percent better contrast and a 21 percent smaller body, weighs 15 percent less, and has 20 percent faster page turns, up to one month of battery life with wireless off, double the storage, and built-in Wi-Fi.

Nevertheless, the Galapagos extends beyond most e-reader capabilities by also supporting a mail program, Web browsing, photo viewing, and TV and video watching.

Edited by Tammy Wolf

TechZone360 Contributing Editor

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