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Sony Tablet S and Sony Tablet P
We first saw the Sony Tablet S and Sony Tablet P back in April under slightly different names. After quite a wait, Sony have now confirmed that these tablets are real and will start shipping this month.
The Sony Tablet S is a somewhat conventional looking Android tablet, but it is perhaps the Sony Tablet P that will steal the show. The Tablet P comes with two displays with a hinge down the middle, so it folds up like a book, measuring 180 x 79 x 26mm when closed.
This design may seem completely mad when compared to conventional Android tablets, but this approach works well on a much smaller scale with the Nintendo DS. For example, you can use the bottom screen as a game controller while playing the game in the top screen, but obviously this will require a specially written application.
The twin displays on the Sony Tablet P are each 5.5" 1024 x 480 pixel panels. Inside is a 1GHz dual-core processor with 512BMB of RAM. The Tablet P ships with Android 3.2 and supports both WiFi and 3.5G connectivity. Internal memory is just 4GB, but the Tablet P also has a microSD slot with a 2GB card in the standard sales package. On the front is a VGA camera for video calling, and on the back is a 5 megapixel primary camera with HD video capture.
When open, the Sony Tablet P measures 180 x 158 x 14mm, it weighs 372 grams and the P is quoted as having up to 5 days standby time and 4.6 hours of web surfing time on 3G or 6.1 on WiFi only. The Tablet P also has GPS, Bluetooth and support for 802.11 b, g and n wireless networks.
The Tablet P is available to order from Sony now for delivery from November onwards for £499, or €599.
The Sony Tablet S is definitely the more normal looking device, featuring a 9.4" 1280 x 800 pixel display and 1GB of RAM. Normal is relative though as the back actually folds around, raising the tablet up slightly so it is easier to use on a flat surface.
Inside is the same 1GHz dual-core processor as found on the Tablet P, and the Tablet S also has the same camera arrangement. One novel feature is that you can use the Tablet S as a universal remote control for both Sony and non-Sony entertainment equipment.
There are several different models of the Tablet S available, 16GB and 32GB WiFi only versions for £399 / €479 / $500 and £479 / €579 / $600 respectively. A 16GB WiFi + 3G version is available in Europe for £499 or €599. The WiFi versions will ship with Android 3.1 with an upgrade to Android 3.2 promised soon, the WiFi + 3G version will have Android 3.2 out of the box. Delivery should start by the end of September.
The Sony Tablet S measures 241 x 174 x 10 to 21mm and weighs 598 grams (625 for the 3G) version. Internal memory is supplemented by an SD memory slot, although no card is supplied.
These Android devices support DLNA, have a USB port, Bluetooth, come with GPS and all the usual Android applications plus some additions of Sony's own. Both tablets are PlayStation Certified and have access to Sony's online entertainment services.
These are expensive devices which are very similar in price to their iPad 2 equivalents. However, Sony is a very strong brand and is probably one of the few makes that is desirable as Apple. Given Sony's expertise at home integration, the Tablet S and Tablet P do look like very attractive tablets and perhaps they will be the first Android tablets to sell in any real quantity.
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