Sony's (news, site) consumer-focused pair of tablets are the next contenders to play David to the iPad's Goliath.

A Tale of Two Tablets

Undeniably pretty, Sony is soon to offer the world a pair of well-sculpted Android 3.2-powered tablets that it hopes will make an impact in a market where HP's TouchPad, RIM's PlayBook and others have singularly failed to make much of a impact on the iPad's dominance.

Sony's svelte contenders for the tablet market
Sony's svelte contenders for the tablet market

Sony's tablets have been trailed by a smart series of adverts that offer a lot of gloss but little substance about the devices. However, all that has changed with the discovery of a series of screenshots on a Sony support site that show some of the detail users will crave.


The screens posted by CarryPad show off some consumer-friendly apps such as a wireless hotspot connector tool, an Internet viewer app based on Chumby and other features to smooth progress for the non-technical user.

Specs for the consoles were also recently leaked, showing some decent power with a range of 16 or 32GB models offering WiFi and/or 3G and battery life similar to an iPad 2. There will be an SD card slot for upgraded memory and the S1 will have a 9.4" screen using Bravia HD technology. The devices are due to be launched at the beginning of September, just before IFA Berlin.

Heading for the Door

As one tablet launches, others are still struggling to get out the door. HP's TouchPad is about to see a US$ 100 price cut to make it more attractive, as updates are promised to improve some of the issues that led to middling reviews.

Ultimately, everyone in the tablet market is in the shadow of the iPad 2's massive sales and the eager wait for iPad 3 and its iCloud services. Will Sony make much of a dent? It has the brand name in the consumer market, but has its own troubles with a huge reorg of its TV division and not launching the much-hyped Sony Vita handheld until next year in the West.