Sony is officially the latest to join the legion of Android tablets as they attempt to chip away at Apple’s market share. The new “Sony Tablet S” is available for preorder today, with shipments expected in the middle of next month.
Starting at $500 for the 16-gigabyte version, Sony finds itself engaging in the dangerous game of trying to woo would-be tablet buyers away from the iPad with promises of additional features and, in Sony’s case, a design that doesn’t look like every other tablet on the market.
The 9.4-inch tablet weighs 1.5—a little heavier than the 1.3-pound iPad 2—but has been ergonomically designed, says Sony, so that “its center of gravity shifts the device’s weight closer to the palm of your hand, making it feel lighter and more comfortable while reading a book, or watching a video.”
Aside from that, it’s got a 1280×800 touchscreen, NVIDIA Tegra 2 processor, front- and rear-facing cameras, and Android’s “Honeycomb” operating system—pretty much par for the course when it comes to the current crop of Android tablets with screens in the 10-inch range. It weighs around 1.33 pounds, according to Sony’s press release—same as the iPad 2.
The Tablet S packs a few additional features, however, such as a full-size SD card slot and the ability to work as a universal remote control. It’s also the first PlayStation-certified tablet, allowing you to download and play certain “classic PSone and PSP game titles.” It’ll ship preloaded with Crash Bandicoot and Pinball Heroes.
Time will tell if that $500 price tag’s able to hold up. If there’s a big company that can hold its own against Apple as far as product design goes, Sony’s the one. Something tells me this tablet may have had a much, much better shot had it been one of the first Honeycomb devices out of the gate back in late February but we’ll see if the unique design and access to Sony content is enough to drive some decent sales.
Sony’s smaller dual-screen, foldable Tablet P was also briefly mentioned in the company’s press release, though pricing and availability information hasn’t been released except to say that we can expect it “later this year.”
Here’s a Sony-sponsored unboxing of the Tablet S, too, if you’re interested:
Spoiler: They like it!