The Android tablet onslaught will continue this December as Sharp will launch two of them, including a massive 10.8-inch model that's even bigger than the iPad. They will fall under Sharp's newly minted Galapagos tablet name. And just like most other consumer electronics companies, it's using Android to power the upcoming devices.
A 5.5-inch and 10.8-inch version will be launching simultaneously, allowing Sharp to hedge its bets. The jury is still out on whether small-size, one-handed tablets will win out or if the larger-size devices, like the iPad, are where the money is.
Samsung's Galaxy Tab is right in the middle, with an 8-inch display that it says extensive market research has shown is the preferable size.
Sharp's choices dabble where no other is going. At 5.5 inches, the smaller version is the smallest we've seen that calls itself a "tablet." Dell introduced a 5-inch device but it also functions as a phone and was not labeled as an iPad rival. And at 10.8 inches, the bigger Galapagos is even larger than the iPad, a move no one else is willing to do at this point.
The Sharp tablets will only have Wi-Fi connectivity, without 3G. That means cost will be kept down but customers who want an always-on Internet connection will have to look elsewhere.
For now, the Galapagos devices will only be available in Japan. If successful, and if other Android tablets take off in the US, expect Sharp to start looking overseas.