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 newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags consumer electronicssharpe-readers

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

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Kurt Hegetschweiler

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

It’s perfect for mobile workers. Just take it out — it’s small enough to sit anywhere — turn it on, load a sheet of paper, and start printing.

Matthew Stivala

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

The HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer is a great device that fits perfectly into my fast paced and mobile lifestyle. My first impression of the printer itself was how incredibly compact and sleek the device was.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?