Sony has finally made it official, they are entering the tablet business. This move has been anticipated for a while now so this may not be a big surprise. At first, Sony will release two tablets: Sony Tablet S and Sony Tablet P. Both will be running Google's Android "Honeycomb" operating system. Tablet S will be available for pre-order starting today and shipments should start late next month. The availability of Tablet P is still open but Sony is stating later this year. 

  Tablet S Tablet P
Screen size 9.4" 2x 5.5"
Resolution 1280x800 N/A
Processor NVIDIA Tegra 2 @ 1GHz NVIDIA Tegra 2 @ 1GHz
Memory 1GB 1GB (?)
Storage 16GB or 32GB 4GB
Ports Headphone, micro-USB, SD card slot Micro-USB, SD card slot
Camera 5MP rear + VGA front-facing 5MP rear + VGA front-facing
Connectivity WiFi, Bluetooth 2.1 WiFi, Bluetooth 2.1 (?), 4G
Battery 5000mAh 3080mAh
Weight 1.33lb 0.83lb
Price $499 (16GB) and $599 (32GB) N/A


Tablet S - courtesy of Engadget

Tablet P - courtesy of Ubergizmo

Tablet S is pretty much a standard tablet and it doesn't look too different from the other Android tablets. However, Tablet P is something totally new. It consists of two 5.5" LCDs which can be folded. This is a bit similar to Nintendo 3DS. We have seen all kinds of different designs by now, such as ASUS Eee Pad Transformer and PadPhone, but Sony takes yet another new approach. The design allows one display to be used for example email and the other as a virtual keyboard. They can also operate as one big display. 

Tablet S is relying solely on WiFi. For some, this might be a bummer considering that most of the other tablets have at least an option for 3G. Maybe Sony is relying on WiFi hotspots or tethering. As for the Tablet P, it supports 4G and will be limited to AT&T. 

To make Tablet S a bit more than just one more Android tablet, Sony has added some exclusive content. Sony offers a service called Video and Music Unlimited. The former is a video store, pretty much like iTunes. Music Unlimited is a little more intriguing, it offers you a library of over 10 million songs which you can sync to your Sony Tablet (some other Android devices are also compatible). The service is subcription based so it appears that you can sync as many songs as you like without paying extra (similar to Spotify but hopefully with broader music coverage). Video Unlimited, on the other hand, charges for each movie. Every Sony Tablet comes with a six month trial of Music Unlimited and one free download from Video Unlimited. 

As Sony has always cared about gamers too, there will be some exclusive titles. For example Crash Bandicoot will be pre-installed on Tablet S. Sony claims that their tablets are the first Playstation Certified tablets so these titles may not be limited to just Sony's tablets (although it looks like they will be at first). 

As a whole, Sony's tablet announcement is positive. Sony has at least tried to be creative and come up with something new instead of just joining the already huge number of Android OEMs. Whether consumers will buy Sony's approach or not, remains to be seen. 

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  • retrospooty - Wednesday, August 31, 2011 - link

    "Every Apple fan seems to want to focus on the APP count. Who out there has over 1,000 APPS on his/her tablet?"

    Agreed... Do we really need 30+ fart apps? No, we just need 1 good one.
  • Bozzified - Thursday, September 1, 2011 - link

    Exactly.. but here's a dose of reality.. unlike iPad, Android apps actually work great on Honeycomb even if they are not optimized because they are being built like for Windows. With scalable and liquid layouts due to variety of screens on Android platform.

    So, the same thing Apple fans have been spitting on is a huge benefit now for Android tablets.
  • robinthakur - Friday, September 2, 2011 - link

    All Apps I run with the exception of 2 are universal Apps or made for the iPad. Apps *should* be redesigned for a tablet, as anyone who has used Mail on the iPhone versus the iPad can attest, that the layout on iPad is far better use of the increased space. Otherwise it would just be a big iPod Touch ;) Agree with you in principle though on scaleable vector based graphics. I'm not a "fan" of Apple, but I do use their products. Alot of Android fans clearly aren't buying their tablets or the sales figures wouldn't be so dire.
  • robinthakur - Friday, September 2, 2011 - link

    My iPad2 is my primary work device now, so I dispute your assertion that they won't have the same workload as a laptop. I can create presentations, Excel spreadsheets, Word docs, take notes, draw diagrams and record sound and if i need to i can remote into our windows environment. Job done, and yes i'm well aware that my Tablet with better battery life and far less weight is not a laptop.

    Apps are actually important if the one you need isn't available on your chosen platform as is the general rule on Android. On iPad when you get one you download the Apple suite of Pages, Numbers and Keynote plus all the other bits and bobs like Bloomberg, SharePrice Garageband etc and you are sorted to be able to work. Developers support the Apple platform far better IME because they simply make far more money from it!
  • shivoa - Wednesday, August 31, 2011 - link

    Yes, exactly! It's just as my good friend repeatedly says about Apple computers, "if you bring your product to market, and cannot compete with Microsoft Windows in the software selection area, then you can't compete with their price point."

    The only chance Apple computers have of competing with a Windows machine, which has a vastly larger ecosystem of apps, is by competitive pricing and undercutting the competition. Compelling OS experiences and interesting (or even just slick) hardware offerings with an app range that is good enough for significant coverage of the competition range is simply not enough. This is clearly why Apple should give up selling laptops as they simply don't have the app support to compete with Windows and are absurdly pricing with a premium rather than undercutting the similar hardware that comes with the far more vibrant ecosystem.

    Or maybe the Android ecosystem is potentially vibrant enough to create compelling and unique experiences on top of the standard features all tablet users expect. Maybe we're an OS revision or two away from that being at all practical, but I wouldn't call it foolish to invest in a potentially massive market which has yet to find a clear second place man or even leader competitor.
  • melgross - Wednesday, August 31, 2011 - link

    That's a joke, right? You do know that PC manufacturers are so concerned about meeting Apple prices on the Airs that they have demanded that Intel GIVE them $100 for each notebook they make, and cut the price of the CPU and support chips in half. intel has also started a $300 million fund to help.

    So you think that Apple isn't competing on price? Where have you been?
  • retrospooty - Wednesday, August 31, 2011 - link

    I see the reality distortion field is in full effect on this one. Way to pick on example out of dozens of products and make a moot point. Apple's PC and laptop prices are rediculous.
  • Kristian Vättö - Thursday, September 1, 2011 - link

    Take a look at the article below this. Samsung is selling a better laptop for 50% of the price. Some Apple products are reasonable priced, but there are many which aren't.
  • robinthakur - Friday, September 2, 2011 - link

    You are hilarious, I dof my hat to you. Shame this lot don't get sarcasm.
  • medi01 - Thursday, September 1, 2011 - link

    This app argument is utterly ridiculous.
    One competitor has hundreds of thousands of apps more than another one? So what?

    It's more about quality than quantity. On well written OS you shouldn't absolutely need any apps at all, when with Apple you are semi-forced into buyng some.

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