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Sharp readies colour e-book reader

Seeking international publishing partners, 'pparently

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Sharp is to enter the e-book reader market.

The Japanese company isn't saying much about what kind of devices it will offer, only that they will display files in the XMDF - "ever-eXtending Mobile Document Format" - files, tweaked to allow video and audio content to be embedded and presented, as well as the text and still that it can handle now.

That gives a clue to the Sharp e-book readers' capabilitites: if they can show video, they'll surely come with colour screens with high refresh rates. That suggests LCD or OLED rather than E Ink.

While Western e-book readers have tended to the de facto standard ePub format, according to Sharp, XMDF is commonplace in Japan where it's used for manga books.

There's no word on a UK release - Sharp didn't even say when the Japanese incarnation of the gadget will debut beyond a broad "within this year".

However, an international release is on the cards: "Various publishing houses... in Japan and overseas markets will be supporting Sharp," it said. ®

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