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7-Inch Sharp Galapagos Tablet Seen at FCC

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It looks like Sharp may be readying a 7-inch Android tablet under its Galapagos brand name. The 7-inch model would sit in the middle of Sharp’s other tablets with a 5.5- and 10.8-inch displays. Not a lot of information is available at the FCC at this time, but it is now known that the Sharp 7-inch Android slate will come with a WiFi-radio.

As 3G/4G radio(s) are not mentioned at this stage, it seems unlikely that the Galapagos 7-inch would come with built-in mobile broadband, though Sharp can deliver such a model at a future launch. Launching initially with a WiFi-only model may be advantageous as it could keep costs low for more budget-conscious users in a competitive tablet ecosystem where the iPad is now dictating the price of the slate market. For comparison, when Android Honeycomb first debuted, it launched first on a 3G version of the Motorola Xoom, which is hardware-upgradable to 4G LTE at a later point for free, that costs $799. Though a cheaper WiFi-only version was later made available, an $800 tablet was seen as too expensive given the $500 entry point for the base 16 GB WiFi-only iPad.

The slate could potentially launch with Android 2.4, according to Electronista.

At CES, when I had taken a look at Sharp’s tablet range, it seems the company was positioning much of its tablets as e-readers, with access to content stores for newspapers, magazines, books, and journals. It’s unclear if the 7-inch model will launch in the U.S. market as FCC certification does not guarantee a product’s debut, but Sharp has in the past assured me that it will slowly begin to introduce some of its mobile products to the U.S., beginning with a 3D smartphone. However, to date, Sharp’s 3D phone still has not made it to U.S. soil yet.

Tech enthusiast in Silicon Valley enjoying the possibilities of ubiquitous connectivity, information sharing, and collaboration enabled by mobile broadband. You can contact Chuong on Twitter @chuongvision or search +chuongvision on Google+.

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