Sony Launching Stylish Android 3.0 Tablets to Battle iPad, RIM's PlayBook

3 minute read
Geoff Spick avatar

Sony (news, site) is throwing its weight into the tablet war, all set to battle Apple and others this fall with a distinguished pair of sleek home tablet devices.

Sony Turns on the Style

At a launch event in Tokyo earlier today, Sony unveiled its forthcoming Android 3.0-powered tablet devices that it hopes will divert some of the piles of cash currently going to Apple in its direction. The Sony S1 is a 9.4-inch standard tablet with a sleek, tapered, design, while the S2 offers something a little different in a clamshell design with two 5.5-inch screens.

On the S2, the lower screen can be a virtual keyboard, gaming controls or app functions. While the specs (and pricing) haven't been unveiled at this point, it will need to match or beat whatever the likes of Apple, as well as the other Android device makers, are offering at the time to stand any chance in a cutthroat market.


Sony's new tablets have style, but is it enough in a tough market?

A Tussle Among Tablets

While aimed at the home market, the Android badge means it can run all those productivity and social apps that will make it suitable for the executive set. They will also offer access to PlayStation Suite (for games) and Qriocity music service -- hopefully they'll be back up for the launch, after the recent ongoing hack and downtime.

Learning Opportunities

When they do launch, they will be fighting a range of Android tablets, the iPad 2.0 (or even 3.0) and the recently launched RIM PlayBook. Sony's devices may have an edge in supporting 4G (as well as 3G and Wi-Fi) networks out of the box, but rivals may have caught up by that point.

All we know about the specification is that it is powered by a Tegra 2 system-on-a-chip, so will be capable of handling all video and media apps with aplomb, but it may face quad-core designs by launch that will be even more powerful. As Sony Vaio-branded devices, they can be used as a remote control for Bravia TVs and the Sony home entertainment kit, and also output content to big screens.

It all sounds slick and stylish, but will it have the marketing muscle and essential differentiators to make a mark on Apple? So far the pretenders to the iPads' throne seem to be faring rather poorly, with Motorola's Xoom reportedly seeing poor sales and RIM remaining quiet about the PlayBook's success. The S1 and S2 have a mighty mountain to climb.