Sharp has developed XMDF, a next-generation e-book format with advanced features that allow users to enjoy video and audio content, in addition to current features such as texts and still images.
With next-generation XMDF as a core technology, Sharp will within this year provide digital platform to promote e-book distribution service and launch compatible reader devices to enter the e-book market. Various publishing houses (newspaper, magazines, catalogs), printing and agent companies in Japan and overseas market will be supporting Sharp to launch this e-book business, Sharp said.
Sharp?s next-generation XMDF is an advanced version of the current XMDF format. The current XMDF format has been commercialized in 2001 and is used in e-book contents including Japanese novels and manga comics. The next-generation XMDF enables easy viewing of digital contents including video and audio, and allows automatic adjustment of the layout to match and meet publishers? needs. With this digital platform, Sharp plans to enhance users? e-book lifestyle with more sophisticated user interface technology, and at the same time will contribute to expand the e-book market. XMDF allows users to browse the same content on multiple terminals including smart phones, PCs and TVs and also streamlines publisher?s e-book contents production.
The popularity of Apple's iPad has spurred growth in the e-reader and e-book markets, and global competition is heating up by the day with Amazon, Barnes & Noble Inc and Sony Corp slashing device prices in the past month in response to the threat from the iPad.
In Japan, Sony and mobile phone operator KDDI Corp are also teaming up to distribute e-books.