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Rumor: Sony developing a PlayStation tablet dubbed the S1

Sony S1The Xperia Play hasn’t even officially launched, and we’re already hearing that Sony is ready to take on the tablet market. “Two highly trusted and independent” Engadget sources have come forward with a simple rendering and a wealth of information about a forthcoming PlayStation tablet.

The internally codenamed S1 will measure 9.4-inches and run a Sony-customized version of Honeycomb. Worried about Sony developers messing too much with the OS? According to the sources, “Sony’s work is cutting edge stuff created by a talented engineering team,” comprised of members from its Vaio, Reader, PlayStation, and Sony Ericsson departments. Think those are some lofty claims? How about this: “Sony’s custom-built transitions and UI elements have created a user experience that rivals and at times improves upon the iPad’s renowned experience.”

It was initially unclear how much PlayStation functionality would be integrated into the tablet, but it’s been confirmed that the device will be PlayStation Certified and will be focused on gaming and include PS One games. Of course, it will also come equipped with Qriocity for other content. The S1 will likely opt for Vaio branding, furthering the fact that it’s not an exclusively PlayStation device.

One look at the mockup sketch should also get you wondering what’s with the curved hardware. Apparently it’s supposed to be reminiscent of an open book or folded magazine – which seems strange if it’s a game-centric device. Still, it’s a pretty sleek design so we’re willing to forgive any inconsistency. The angle is supposed to improve user interaction with the tablet when it’s on a flat surface as well as single-handed grip.

So what’s inside? Take a look at the reported specs:

  • Tegra 2 processor
  • 9.4-inch touch display; 1,280 x 800 resolution
  • Rear and front-facing cameras
  • USB-A port
  • Built-in IR port
  • Android 3.0

It will be a relatively button-free tablet, with nothing but volume controls on the sides and possibly a designated Qriocity button. The material is uncertain at the moment, but it will sport a high-gloss black finish on the front panel and a grip-friendly texture on the back.

The Wi-Fi-only S1 may cost $599 and ship in September. And if this isn’t enough to satiate your thirst, Engadget is teasing us with word of another Sony tablet. It apparently knows more about a patent Sony filed last year regarding a dual-screen, tablet-notebook hybrid, which could also finally be making its way from rumor to reality.