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Sharp trashes two of its three Galapagos tablets

First Hewlett-Packard packed up and left the party with its low-selling TouchPad tablet. Following that, at the start of this month, it was claimed that Samsung had sold only 20,000 of two million 7-inch Galaxy Tablets shipped to stores last year. Then on Thursday RIM announced that sales of its PlayBook tablet have been more than a little disappointing. And now Japanese electronics maker Sharp has said it will be discontinuing two of its three Galapagos tablets – less than twelve months after coming on the market.

A Wall Street Journal report said that Sharp declined to reveal sales figures of its tablets, which can often be taken to mean “pretty poor.”

It’s not that tablets themselves aren’t popular. They are. Lots of them are being sold. But the majority of them are being made by Apple. The iPad is proving such a hit among consumers that other tablet manufacturers are finding it nigh on impossible to get a look in. Figures from research firm IDC put Apple’s share of the tablet market for the last quarter at just over 68 percent. That leaves all the other companies touting tablets to fight over the remaining 32 percent.

Sharp currently makes three sizes of the Galapagos tablet – the 5.5-inch, 7-inch and 10.8-inch. All are sold only in Japan. From September 30, the 5.5-inch and 10.8-inch devices will be trashed, leaving only the 7-inch model to fight it out in the increasingly crowded tablet arena. This medium-sized version of Sharp’s Galapagos range is the company’s most recent addition to the line-up and was unveiled in August.

The device runs Android 3.2 and is currently selling for a pricey 44,800 yen ($585) in Japanese electronics stores. That’s the same price as Apple’s 16GB iPad – and that’s even with the Galapagos having half the internal memory of Apple’s entry-level device.

A spokeswoman for the Osaka-based company told WSJ that sales of the 7-inch device are doing “quite well” and that an international launch is a possibility, though no concrete information was forthcoming. 

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