Japanese electronics giant Sharp has never been a big player in the North American computer market, but it had maintained business selling notebook and desktop computers, particularly in Japan. But no more: the company has announced that it is exiting the personal computer business completely, and will focus its marketing and information technology efforts on its forthcoming Android-powered Galapagos tablets, along with the content ecosystem of books, music, and video to back them up.
Sharp was actually an early leader in notebook PCs, and continued to innovate display technology for the industry; last year, Sharp launched its Mebius netbook with a high-resolution LCD trackpad that supported multitouch gestures and enabled innovative control interfaces like freehand drawing and playing virtual instruments.
Sharp is expected to launch its Galapagos tablets in Japan at the end of 2010. Rather than positioning them as mobile devices, however, Sharp is at least initially touting the Galapagos devices as ereaders with integrated Web-browsing capabilities. One of the main attractions of the tablets will be the Galapagos content services, which will offer automatic delivery of magazines and newspapers, as well as XMDF ebooks that support Japanese-specific content with dynamic resizing. Users will be able to convert content to XMDF format using PCs, as well as synchronize comments and bookmarks with friends. So far, no concrete details have emerged about whether Sharp plans to bring the Galapagos devices and service to North America.