September 15, 2011

Galapagos Tablet Gets the Axe

Less than a year after it made its debut, the Galapagos tablet by Sharp (News - Alert) is going by the wayside. The company is reportedly giving the tablet the heave-ho due to hardware specs being “outdated.”

Sharp has been mum on sales numbers for the Galapagos, which runs on Google’s Android (News - Alert) operating system. The decision to scale back sales of the device reflects the difficulty Japanese companies and other electronics makers have had in trying to make inroads into a market dominated by Apple's iPad.

Galapagos devices are equipped with WiFi (News - Alert) on board. Users were able to surf the Web, view “PC documents”, play games via apps, and share comments and recommendations with other owners via a pre-installed “social app”. That’s the reason why Sharp, on its Japanese website, advertised the devices as “media tablets,” not just e-book readers.

The name was always considered a head-scratching decision on Sharp’s part.

“I am not sure what came over Sharp's marketing department, and neither is the entire Japanese tech scene,” Serkan Toto, mobile-industry consultant and Japan correspondent for technology website TechCrunch. “Sharp says it used the term to reflect the changes that the constant evolution of technologies bring to users, but it's just a terrible branding decision – one of the silly mistakes big companies sometimes make.”

Sharp said it chose the term to point to Japan's ability to create new technologies that would help it to adapt to global competition.

The company will stop taking orders for the Galapagos in two sizes – a 5.5-inch and a 10.8-inch version – effective Sept. 30. It started selling the devices on Dec. 10.

With the possible exception of the Galaxy by Samsung, few companies have managed to contend with Apple's share in the tablet market. According to research firm IDC (News - Alert), Apple's iPad accounted for 68.3 percent of global tablet shipments in the second quarter.

Michelle Amodio is a TMCnet contributor. She has helped promote companies and groups in all industries, from technology to banking to professional roller derby. She holds a bachelor's degree in Writing from Endicott College and currently works in marketing, journalism, and public relations as a freelancer.

Edited by Jennifer Russell