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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  • robinthakur - Friday, September 2, 2011 - link

    It is quality over quantity, I agree, and Apple easily winds on that front too currently. I suppose your argument that calculator and notepad are the only tools you need? Apps are invaluable to being able to use my iPad in all scenarios.
  • Kristian Vättö - Wednesday, August 31, 2011 - link

    Well, making loss isn't that great of a business scheme either.
  • sleepeeg3 - Thursday, September 1, 2011 - link

    Sure you can. The Sony Table S includes:
    * Better resolution
    * Better camera
    * USB port & SD Card slots
    * Android OS

    All of those could provide a more compelling reason to buy the Sony Tablet.

    The iPad 2:
    * Bigger battery (6944 mAh vs 5000 mAh)
    * Apple OS
    * 3G option

    The Tablet P looks interesting as an uber expensive clamshell, smartphone option with an inferior camera, but with Sony about to release a 12MP Xperia, it seems like an inferior option. I like the concept of the mini-tablet, though. Who wants to bet that is the future of smartphones? Nintendo sure was visionary.
  • medi01 - Thursday, September 1, 2011 - link

    You sure can.
    "I'd never buy something from apple" crowd is rather big. At least in Europe.
  • Focher - Thursday, September 1, 2011 - link

    It's not big enough to matter. The sales statistics speak to that fact. The biggest problem entrants have into the tablet market is that a significant part of the sales are going to "new" consumers. And those "new" consumers" are disproportionately focused on which iPad to get, not which tablet.

    The Robert Scoble question remains. A tablet entrant needs to be able to answer the question "Why would someone buy this instead of an iPad?" So far, none of the Android tablets have given a very satisfactory answer to that question. That's not my opinion. That's sales statistics.
  • smartpatrol - Wednesday, August 31, 2011 - link

    It was beginning to look like Sony was avoiding the Android tablet flop market altogether.

    Finally, they're releasing a couple Android flops of their own.
  • GotThumbs - Wednesday, August 31, 2011 - link

    Sony is making a mistake with its pricing strategy. As HP has found out....demand for your product WILL increase with price reductions. At this time, SONY does not offer much more than what is already available to consumers when comparing other Android tablets and even the much despised (by me at least) IPAD group. A better initial pricing strategy would benefit Sony than its current.
  • melgross - Wednesday, August 31, 2011 - link

    What HP found out was that dropping the price of their tablet from $500 to $450 didn't work. They found that dropping it to $400 didn't work. And one site that sold them for $369 I think it was, didn't work either.

    How much money should a company lose on each sale before they sell enough to say that it's a success?
  • yannigr - Wednesday, August 31, 2011 - link

    $500 for a Sony? maybe if it was a TV. But for a tablet? I think not. They will never learn. Maybe they don't want to learn. They are also selling laptops and netbooks, so why create an alternative that it is cheaper? No reason.
  • MarkLuvsCS - Wednesday, August 31, 2011 - link

    and the $399 transformer will likely sell considerably more than the sony. Thrive is around same price as well. I think android tablets now really are going to be held to the $399 price point. I just don't see tablets doing significantly better pricing so close to ipads. By the time sony gets this to the market asus may be releasing transformer2 pretty close.

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