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Sharp's monochrome stylus tablets are a brisk sell in Japan

Amid the wide choice of high-tech tablets offered by manufacturers like Apple and Samsung, a device that some may find relatively primitive is pulling off a surprise, at least in Japan.

The monochrome stylus tablets built by Sharp are encountering unexpected success as they could have tapped into the "cultural appeal of handwriting" in Japan, PC World reported.

“It did better than expected. Hand-writing culture is Japanese, so we need to look into the market demand for foreign markets, because it’s kind of analog,” PC World quoted Sharp spokeswoman Miyuki Nakayama as saying.

PC World said that in Japan, "calligraphy is still taught in public schools and children learn complicated kanji characters by repeatedly writing them out longhand."

But it added that while Sharp wants to launch the device abroad, it "isn’t sure how it would be received."

Dubbed the “digital notepad,” the monochrome tablet that was announced last December has a lined screen and stylus for scribbling handwritten notes.

Its success prompted Sharp to announce plans to build a more advanced model that can store 2,000 handwritten notes, with a single battery charge lasting 60 hours.

With a price of ¥15,000 ($150), the new tablet is priced the same as other full-featured tablets like Amazon’s Kindle Fire HD, which costs ¥15,800 in Japan. Sharp's device has relatively simple functions, with buttons on the screen to change pen thickness or save notes.

It also has a growing number of downloadable backgrounds, "which range from simple lines to mimic traditional notepaper to time sheets and calendars." – KDM, GMA News

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