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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  • medi01 - Thursday, September 1, 2011 - link

    Why? Nobody cares about build quality these days?

    If Apple would create a tablet of this form, US media would be crying about "revolutionary shape" all day long. But for Sony most would settle with it being a disadvantage.
  • tech6 - Wednesday, August 31, 2011 - link

    Since Tegra is about to be superseded by the next gen of mobile chipsets from Nvidia, this seems like an off time to enter the game.

    Also, I do have some misgivings about anything open source from Sony - the company that is known for pushing proprietary technology is no embracing open standards?
  • bupkus - Wednesday, August 31, 2011 - link

    They're no hope to lead a market where they're truly playing catch-up.

    Hell, they're even behind hp!
  • wrack - Wednesday, August 31, 2011 - link

    When will these companies understand? They are entering a market won by iPad. If they even remotely want to get in then lower your prices.
  • teng029 - Wednesday, August 31, 2011 - link

    i'm surprised Sony would want to enter this market at all. unless there's some compelling reason or feature built in to these devices that would separate them from all other tablets running Honeycomb (which I doubt), or perhaps a lower price point than the other Android tablets (which they won't), why would consumers choose this over something like the Galaxy Tab, or an Asus Transformer, or any other Android tablet that's already out?

    Sony seems to have neglected the fact that they not only will end up playing catchup with Apple, but all other tablet manufacturers. one wonders if these companies do any consumer research at all..
  • melgross - Wednesday, August 31, 2011 - link

    You know, I would like to think that the people responsible for these things aren't completely stupid. They design the best tablet they can. Then they price out all the costs. They modify the design according to the cost structure. Then they price it to make a decent profit.

    If they do that, and it's what they should be doing, they have little or no room to drop the price. A tablet selling for $500 is probably making $50 profit for the manufacturer, at best, because we know that Apple gets the best pricing on parts and assembly, and Apple stated that they were making lower margins in order to price them to sell to the largest number of people, which seems to have worked.

    So how can these companies lower prices? If they sell enough over a certain period of time, they get manufacturing efficiencies, and they can drop the price by a bit. But if they don't meet those numbers, they can't. So far, no other manufacturer has sold, as far as we know, more that hundreds of thousands, not millions. There's no price advantage for them.

    I think they are all, including HTC, pricing them as low as they can.
  • Focher - Thursday, September 1, 2011 - link

    That makes no sense! Everyone KNOWS that Apple charges a price premium. Therefore, any price point at which they sell a product must be higher than other companies could produce and sell a similar product. So an iPad for $499 means that there's an Apple Tax hidden in there!

    I'm being snarky, of course. Along with the Air, Apple's competitors are finding out that even at the same or lower prices (e.g. Air) Apple is making a product with higher consumer demand.
  • ctrees - Thursday, September 1, 2011 - link

    "However, Tablet P is something totally new"

    The Toshiba Libretto w100 would like to have a word with you, Kristian...
  • WeaselITB - Thursday, September 1, 2011 - link

    I was actually thinking of the Kyocera Echo:

    What I'm wondering is how much Sony-specific software hackery did they need to do in order to get the dual-screen "two apps" thing working, like Kyocera had to do. The concept is great, but if it requires dedicated applications rather than being able to run just anything from the app store, it's a stillbirth.

  • Penti - Thursday, September 1, 2011 - link

    Still on Tegra 2 sadly, we need to move on. These devices need a more powerful platform at least when it comes to media decoding.

    I've kind been wondering why they don't come from the Sony venture that does have mobile hardware competence (SE), but this product just looks odd and out of place either way. Sure Sony's services probably could be great, if I could use them up here in northern europe where they design all the SE phones... It's kinda odd not seeing SE do anything, but I can understand if they don't want to compete, but you can't internationally sell a tablet because of the rights situation for the content, based on content services.There is no problem selling millions of Android tablets, Samsung has already proven that. But this simply isn't one of those products. They don't have the trust in the market and neither sleek hardware or a good software package. Of course console emulators could be a selling point, but it's not enough as is. Will be tough for them.

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