At IFA 2019, Sharp, the Japanese brand with the rich history, announced its first Android TVs for Europe. The first TVs will arrive later this year, with more planned for 2020.
Sharp comes full circle
Sharp was actually amongst the first Android TV partners but it fizzled out after the Japanese company found itself in economic trouble and sold the rights to the Sharp TV brand. In Europe it is now taking back control, having acquired a majority stake in its partner UMC.
It has been an erratic course but it is now history. Sharp returns to Europe with renewed energy and is planning to soon launch Android TVs with built-in Chromecast and Google Assistant. These will be affordable LCD TVs with 4K resolution. Two ranges will be available initially, BL and BN series, with the latter boasting support for Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos. Both will have built-in Harman Kardon speakers.
Why is Google's Android TV the right solution for Sharp in its quest to reenter Europe?
- "With extensive content coverage and the integration of the Google Assistant, Android TV is a revolutionary smart TV solution. As a driver of innovative and customer-oriented technologies, Sharp presents a cost-effective solution with full Android TV performance," Sascha Lange, VP of Marketing and Sales explained.
In the US, the Sharp brand is controlled by Hisense who sells a mix of Sharp Android and Roku TVs. A few months ago, Sharp / Foxconn bought back the rights to its brand in the US but we will probably have to wait until CES to learn more about the plans.
Sharp's BL series will be available in Q4 2019 for 399 Euro (40") and 749 Euro (65"). The BN series will be available in Q1 2020 with sizes of up to 65 inches. Two further Sharp Android TV ranges are planned for 2020.
Sharp is no longer a household name but the company is trying to wrestle its way back into the TV market. Will Android TV be the key that unlocks the door? We'll see.