CEATEC 2010: New online Japanese rental service coming this Winter

Tuesday, October 5, 2010 at CEATEC 2010 Japan, Sharp announced the partnership with Cultural Convenience Club to launch the online store of Japanese music and movie for the Android touch pad device, GALAPAGOS.

On September 27, 2010, Sharp announced “GALAPAGOS”, an Google’s Android OS base touch pad device hoping to be the alternative to Apple’s iPad in Japan.

The name, GALAPAGOS, is taken from the Galápagos Islands in Ecuador where many unique and endangered animals are. Those animal are only able to thrive in the isolated islands for long time because they didn’t have enemies – so do Japanese mobile industry. Japanese mobile industry developed its own protocol and services, such as mobile gaming and e-money. “Galapagos” was often used among Japanese media that Japanese companies will never be able to dominate the world’s mobile market.

Sharp decided to use this ironic symbol of Japanese mobile industry because they want to show the world that they are confident with their business plan by being “unique”.

Galapagos comes with two difference models: 10.5 inch and 5.5 inch displays. In terms of hardware technology. I don’t think it’s unique, yet.

But the most important factor is whether they can provide the great apps or contents.

Therefore, Sharp just announced the partnership with Cultural Convenience Club. Cultural Convenience Club operates TSUTAYA. TSUTAYA is the Japan’s largest rental, retail and online chain of entertainment contents. It also provide mail-in rental service like Netflix.

They will form a joint company, and start an online service called  “TSUTAYA Galapagos”. The new company plans to begin its operation this December.

One of the disadvantage of iTune Store is they don’t have rich collection of Japanese music, movie and TV shows.

On the other hand, being the Japan’s top entertainment distributor, TSUTAYA has advantages by having access to 200k entertainment online contents. TSUTAYA Galapagos hopes to start renting Japanese movies and selling Japanese music to Sharp Galapagos users.

Upto now, there are no Internet retails which can provide legal online Japanese entertainment outside Japan.

However, at the press conferences, Sharp clearly said that they hope the people living outside Japan enjoy our service.

I don’t know if they are talking about Japanese credit card holder who lives outside Japan.

As for now, it is uncertain how they will take care of the people who lives outside Japan. First of all, Sharp is not planning to sell Galapagos outside Japan.

But I’m sure many Japanese online store will start selling Sharp Galapagos as “import” this winter. We hope TSUTAYA Galapagos let people register from outside Japan.

If so, TSUTAYA Galapagos could become only one the online service which you can legally enjoy the online entertainment material from anywhere in the world.

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Media Coverages

AV Watch by Impress
http://av.watch.impress.co.jp/docs/news/20101005_398083.html

IT Media News
http://www.itmedia.co.jp/news/articles/1010/05/news037.html

TBS Newsi
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YgsD2k70Xvw

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Press Release

Sharp’s Press Release
http://www.sharp.co.jp/corporate/news/101005-a.html

Cultural Convenience Club’s Press Release
http://www.ccc.co.jp/company/news/2010/20101005_002442.html

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