Sharp goes Darwin

Sharp has come up with a way of fighting Apple’s tablet dominance by specialising its hardware just for Japan.

For years the term “Galapagos syndrome” has been used to describe how Japan’s mobile-phone industry works differently from the rest of the world.

Sharp, with surprising humour, has named its next portable electronic reader and multi-function tablet “Galapagos” in honour of the problem.

The tablet, which will be in the shops in mid-December, claims to have adopted a “unique evolutionary path” of using Japanese technology and design to match the needs of the Japanese user.

These include things like a service for regular delivery of newspaper and magazine articles on set dates and times. The Japanese like this sort of thing while Apple’s iPad or Amazon’s Kindle don’t.

The tablet is based around the idea of “cloud media,” services offered over a network without storing on the user’s end. Sharp will have an electronic bookstore service ready to coincide with the Galapagos’s launch with 30,000 books, newspapers and magazines.

Galapagos has a colour liquid-crystal display and multi-functionality such as web-browsing and wireless LAN. It is based around Google’s Android and Sharp wants to flog a million units by early 2011.

Newer Galapagos models will have improved functions for games, music, and online shopping.

Once the system is established in Japan then Sharp will develop versions for the US and Europe. Each of them will be configured to local requirements rather than a one size fits all.

We guess the American one will be paper thin and have applications which cost a lot of cash, do little but shout loudly about what it does. The UK one will operate on a low power, but slowly, for most of the year. However it will speed up, get manic and loud on Fridays and two weeks of the year while in a hot country, especially in the presence of alcohol.