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Sharp's Tablet, 70-inch HDTV to Arrive in Q3/Q4

Reuters reports that Sharp Corp's Galapagos E-Media Tablet is slated to hit North America in the second half of 2011. The tablet is currently up for sale in Japan sporting a Linux OS while offering two form factors: 5.5-inch and 10.8-inch. Sharp said the name and specs will likely change for the US market. Execs are also currently ironing out details with major media and content providers.

"The U.S. market product will most likely have cameras on the front and the back, for video chats, photos, video, things like that," said Bob Scaglione, the company's chief marketing officer. He also added that the Japanese tablet sports a 16:9 aspect ratio which will carry over to the American model.

While the tablet's full functionality is unclear, users will be able to check email, browse the internet, and connect to Sharp's Galapagos e-bookstore to purchase books, magazines, newspapers, music, movies, TV shows and other apps. Scaglione said subscriptions will automatically be downloaded to the tablet, stored on a removable SD card. Publishers will be able to share previews of other content as well.

Scaglione told the LA Times that the tablet's storefront and software platform will eventually be compatible with Sharp HDTVs and smartphones in the near future. "You'll be able to view your content on any device you want and that content will adjust automatically to that screen size," he said.

Sharp also indicated that its 70-inch HDTV will arrive in North America in May, however the company is also considering other markets including China. Presently Sharp is looking to boost production at its state-of-the-art liquid-crystal display plant, possibly due to Sony's decision to boost panel orders from cheaper Asian rivals.

"Our Sakai 10th generation plant is currently the only place in the world where 70-inch panels can be produced efficiently," Sharp's Kozo Takahashi told a group of reporters. He added that sales of larger TVs have performed better than smaller models here in the US in recent months.

Sharp Corp is also looking into offering 3D versions of its big-screen HDTVs in the near future.