Sharp plans to launch e-book reader this year

The device will play a new file format that supports audio and video

Japan's Sharp plans to enter the increasingly competitive e-book reader market later this year with a device that can read a new e-publishing file format of its own, it said Tuesday.

The company will launch an e-book reader in Japan before the end of the year and is also working towards a launch outside of Japan. The device, which has not yet been detailed by the company, is likely to hit the U.S. after Japan and Sharp said it is already in launch talks with Verizon Wireless.

Electronic books are beginning to gain traction in several markets thanks to the success of devices like Amazon.com's Kindle, Sony's Reader and Apple's iPad. A recent price cut for the Kindle tripled sales of the device and Amazon.com said on Monday that it now sells more Kindle e-books than hardcover books.

But despite the growing popularity, the market remains split between several electronic publishing file formats. Amazon.com's Kindle uses a proprietary format and isn't compatible with the ePub format used in many other devices.

Sharp's e-book readers will read files in a new version of XMDF (ever-eXtending Mobile Document Format), a format developed by Sharp and used in some of its previous devices.

The new version adds support for multimedia data and will allow audio and video to be embedded into e-book pages.

The original version of XMDF was accepted into the international standard for e-publishing (IEC62448), although its use remains largely confined to Japan.

Readers for the XMDF format are available for Windows PCs, Sharp electronic dictionaries, handheld PCs, cell phones and Sharp's Aquos televisions. Sharp runs an online store for XMDF-format electronic books that has over 29,000 titles from several major Japanese publishers.

Sharp said it has yet to decide if its reader will support other formats in addition to XMDF.

Martyn Williams covers Japan and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Martyn on Twitter at @martyn_williams. Martyn's e-mail address is martyn_williams@idg.com

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags consumer electronicssharpe-readers

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Martyn Williams

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Essentials

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?