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Sharp to release iPad rival

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Sharp has thrown its weight into the tablet space and has announced that it will be releasing two devices by the end of the year – at least in Japan, its home territory.

In terms of hardware, it showed off two prototype colour tablet devices – one with a 5.5in display and another with a 10.8in one. No further details regarding the tablets hardware specifications were revealed.

However, rather than concentrating on the hardware, the company has announced ambitious plans to create a new eBook multimedia publishing standard based around XMDF, (ever-eXtending Mobile Document Format). Sharp clearly feels that current formats such as ePub, OPF, and XHTML aren’t up to the job of creating tablet optimised publications. The key advantage of XMDF is that it enables video and animations to play at the same time as text, which just sounds like a recipe for a headache to us, but there you go.

Google also plans to release an eBook store called ‘Google Editions’, Apple has its iBook store, and Amazon and Sony have lowered the prices of their hardware since the launch of the iPad.

Come what may, by the end of the year, there’s likely to be a whole host of tablet options to choose from, assuming you haven’t hopped on board the Apple bandwagon.

Link: Sharp tablet launch (in Japanese).

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