CES 2008: Sharp's AQUOS Net takes tellies online, launches first TV widgets


Sharps biggest announcement in its CES press conference is the imminent arrive of AQUOS Net. It’s a system for taking TVs online via each set’s built-in Ethernet port to access a range of information services and receive remote customer service support.

The widgets are going to be the main highlight for those who just can’t get enough access to informational services from either your Mac Widgets or your Vista Gadgets or just the plain boring old internet. The glimpse I caught of them at the press conference (apologies for the shoddy photo – but you can sort of see them in there, if you squint real hard) showed a selection of small windows overlaying the right hand side of the TV’s picture.

Sharp revealed that the first few widgets will include one from Weatherbug, a NASDAQ stock market tracker, a uclick comic strip reader, photo viewers and, later on, whatever else Sharp comes up with as the service goes on.

It’s a two way system too, meaning that should you be struggling to get your TV set up correctly or program the remote buttons properly or whatever, then a helpful customer service person can remotely seize control of your telly and do all the hard work for you.

The AQUOS Net system sounds like it has a bit of potential and it’ll be interesting to see more of it in the flesh at the Sharp booth. This feature’s ability to shift more Sharp screens remains questionable though and the quality / quantity of the widgets could make or break the system. Sharp is starting to roll out the AQUOS Net enabled TVs this month. Gizmodo is also voicing an interesting rumour that the service is adding $200 to manufacturing cost of each set.


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