SHARP's Cycle: Babies, Tablets, Failure and Rebirth
9/16/2011 by: Darleen Hartley
What do the birth of a baby and the death of a tablet have in common? Nine months. That’s proved to be the lifespan limit of two of the triplet set of Galapagos tablets from Sharp. Most pregnancies last longer than the Galapagos tablets did. The company announced that two of their recently delivered tablets for the Japanese market were being discontinued. The third has been reincarnated.
Some say Sharp couldn’t compete with the popularity of Apple’s iPad in Japan. Sharp spokespeople contend it’s because the hardware specifications are becoming outdated. Several other limitations are thought to be the cause of inadequate sales. Sharp restricted the device from using the eBook reader software. It lacked a multimedia player and placed constraints on downloading and installing software. Pricing may also have been an issue.
The company’s vision of cramped commuters in trains hanging on for dear life with one hand while manipulating a trackball with the other didn’t catch on, nor did the two-page magazine capability of the larger 10.8 inch screen model produce significant sales. Perhaps consumers longed for the camaraderie and interaction of walking into a store to buy their Galapagos which was denied them. Purchases were limited to mail or Internet orders.
Japan Today reported a company spokesperson as explaining the demise of the Galapagos tablets thus: "This is a new and expanding market. Many new products and services have been launched. We believe the older editions have fulfilled the purposes that they were designed for." Designing a product that hardly is viable beyond its incubation period doesn’t qualify as a good plan in this writer’s opinion.
Sharp Galapagos AO1SH Tablet and the Pocket WiFi set
However, the last of the triplet tablets launched in December 2010 will continue to be sold in a revised version. The midsized 7 inch Galapagos will be reincarnated, as the 5.5 inch and 10.8 inch models are laid to rest. Users can play 3D games and watch HD movies on the Android 3.2 tablet. The new eAccess model launched last month will be the focus of Sharp’s attempt to gain inroads in the eBook segment of the market.
Known as A01SH, it measures approximately 195 x 122 x 11.9-12.6mm and weighs about 389g. Users can download a variety of applications software from the Android Market and go to the Tsutaya Galapagos electronic book service, which is run by Sharp and Culture Convenience Club.
Backside of new Galapagos AO1SH shows camera feature
The pixel count of the camera on the back side is about five million. The tablet computer is equipped with an acceleration sensor, angular velocity sensor, direction sensor, luminance sensor.
This tablet has been beefed up to work with Sharp's Aquos series of LCD TVs and Aquos Blu-ray series of Blu-ray Disc recorders. It can be used as a remote control for those TVs and recorders. Images from the tablet can be displayed on an Aquos TV.
We’ll have to wait another nine months to see if this baby lives to prosper.
Aquos, Blu-ray, A01SH, Sharp, Tsutaya Galapagos, electronic books, Android Market, Culture Convenience Club, Galapagos, Apple iPad, eAccess, Japan, multimedia, LCD TV, remote control
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