Sharp previews Galapagos eReaders

Sharp has offered a sneak peak at an upcoming eReader line it's dubbed Galapagos - and while specs haven't been discussed, the hardware already looks pretty stylish.

Breaking from the mould of E Ink electrophoretic displays favoured by the majority of eReaders on the market, Sharp's Galapagos line will take the form of a 5.5-inch 'mobile type' and a 10.8-inch 'home type' with full-colour, high-resolution LCD screens.

The 5.5-inch version is designed to read like a paper-back book, with a single 'sheet' on the screen at a time - and its 1,024 x 600 resolution display makes the iPhone 4's much-vaunted 'retina' display seem antiquated.

The 10.8-inch edition, however, is designed to be used in landscape mode, displaying a pair of pages on a single screen for a more natural way to read magazines and newspapers - and sadly gets a more modest 1366 x 800 resolution display.

That is, after all, the aim of Sharp's Galapagos - as well as the two hardware devices, the name has been given to the company's planned content store which will deliver around 30,000 newspapers, magazines, and books to compatible devices.

Interestingly, Sharp is planning an automated scheduled delivery service for periodical publications - meaning that if you get the digital edition of a weekly newspaper or monthly magazine, it can be delivered directly to your Galapagos-compatible device in exchange for a subscription fee.

Both devices are set to feature in-built Wi-Fi connectivity, although there's no mention of a 3G-enabled version - and, crucially, Sharp hasn't indicated that the devices will include a web browser. Sadly for those hoping that Sharp had stuck its oar into the tablet market, it appears that it's aiming its sights firmly at the simpler end of the spectrum for now.

The Galapagos is expected to launch in Japan towards the end of the year, but so far Sharp has shied away from detailing how much the hardware will cost or if it's likely to get an international launch.