We haven't had a chance to fully test this product yet, but we've assembled this helpful overview of relevant information on it.
Sony throws its hat into the tablet ring with the S1 which is set for release in the fall of 2011. It has a 9.4 inch screen, similar to Apple’s iPad. The design of it is very interesting with it’s curves and thick backside. The off-center gravity of the design is supposed to more comfortable to use than other flat-backed tablets. The back is textured to add some grip and there’s a slot for a lanyard. The S1 will be running Google’s Android 3.0 Honeycomb system. The S1 features a front-facing camera and a rear camera. A slot storage slot is available for expandable memory. For those with Sony products from their Bravia line, the S1 is equipped with IR sensors so that you can control your Bravia sytems with it. The S1 will be linked with the Sony networks like Playstation Suite and Qriocity.
Sony Announces Optimally Designed “Sony Tablet” with Android 3.0 that Complements Network Services for an Immersive Entertainment Experience
26 April 2011
Also strengthening VAIO in expanding PC markets
Sony Corporation (“Sony”), announces “Sony Tablet” that delivers the perfect combination of hardware, content and network with seamless usability for a high-quality, engaging entertainment experience. Based on decades of engineering heritage, Sony is developing two tablets with unprecedented design, including S1 (codename) which is optimized for rich media entertainment and S2 (codename) which is ideal for mobile communication and entertainment. “Sony Tablet” will become available in the global market starting in fall 2011.
“Sony Tablet” is equipped with the latest Android 3.0 which is designed for devices with larger screen sizes, particularly tablets. Both tablets are WiFi and WAN (3G/4G) compatible and users can not only browse the internet or check e-mail but they can also smoothly access digital content including videos, games and books through Sony’s premium network services and more, on-the-go at any time.
S1 has a 9.4-inch display for enjoying the web and rich content on a large screen. Its off-center of gravity design realizes stability and ease of grip as well as a sense of stability and lightness, offering comfortable use for hours.
S2 has two 5.5-inch displays that can be folded for easy portability. In contrast to existing tablets, its unprecedented dual screen presentation and usability allows its displays to be combined and used as a large screen or for different functions such as playing video on one screen while showing control buttons on the other.
“‘Sony Tablet’ delivers an entertainment experience where users can enjoy cloud-based services on-the-go at any time. We’re aiming to create a new lifestyle by integrating consumer hardware, including ‘Sony Tablet’ with content and network,” said Kunimasa Suzuki, Corporate Executive, SVP, and Deputy President of Consumer Products & Services Group.
“Android 3.0 is a new version of the Android platform with a new holographic user interface that is designed from the ground up for devices with larger screen sizes, particularly tablets. I’m excited about “Sony Tablet” as it will further spur the development of applications and network offerings which users are looking for.” said Andy Rubin, Senior Vice President, Mobile, Google Inc.
Also, in the mobile computing category, the market for PCs which realize high productivity is expected to steadily grow, particularly in emerging markets. Therefore, Sony will also remain committed to strengthening its VAIO brand and introduce increasingly compelling products which offer new value propositions to the market.
“Sony Tablet” features:
■ Designed for portability and intuitive gripping
With its off-center of gravity form factor, the 9.4-inch S1 offers stability and a sense of lightness, offering comfortable use for hours.
The dual screen S2 comes with two 5.5-inch displays which can be used together as one large screen to browse websites and more. They can also be used for different functions as users can watch a video on one screen and input commands on the other, or check email on one screen and use the other as a soft keyboard.
■ Seamless Usability and Performance
Through Sony’s knowhow for combining hardware and software, “Sony Tablet” realizes optimal usability and performance. Because of Sony’s rapid response technologies, users can perform smooth, quick touch-screen operations and enjoy fast and efficient website loading. The keyboard arrangement is also optimized for the large screen, making email and SNS communication a breeze.
■ Rich entertainment experiences through various network services
Through Qriocity1 music and video services, users can enjoy rich video and music content. Also, through PlayStation®Suite, users can immerse themselves in high quality first generation PlayStation® titles. Additionally, users can easily download ebook content from Reader™Store2 and use both tablets as digital reading devices. The integration with various services allows users to take their entertainment experiences on-the-go. Furthermore, “Sony Tablet” is equipped with functionality that organizes content for easy access.
■ Remote access functionality with AV devices
Through “Sony Tablet”, users can control home entertainment devices as well as enjoy content in new ways. S1 uses infrared technology and works as universal remote controls for a variety of AV devices starting with <BRAVIA>. Users can perform functions like turning on their TVs, changing the channel and adjusting the volume. Also, through DLNA functionality on “Sony Tablet”, users can “throw” personal content to large screen televisions or music to wireless speakers.
“Sony Tablet” S1 & S2
In 2010, Sony launched a network platform called “Qriocity” which connects many of Sony’s network-enabled devices, and has been expanding its services into global markets. Also, Sony Computer Entertainment has been providing various contents and services for PlayStation users through PlayStation®Network, which now has over 75 million registered accounts (as of March 20, 2011) worldwide.
Simultaneously, Sony will continue to announce various devices which leverage these services. Starting in early 2011, Sony Computer Entertainment announced the next-generation portable entertainment system (codename: NGP) while Sony Ericsson Mobile Communications brought “Xperia™PLAY” to the market. Sony is introducing “Sony Tablet” to deliver an entertainment experience which integrates hardware with network services that deliver rich content.
With the establishment of Consumer Products and Services Group in April 2011, Sony will focus on accelerating the development of innovative next generation products and aim to deliver a new lifestyle by strengthening the integration of hardware and network services.
Digital Trend’s Tablet Buying Tips:
What Operating System should I use?
It’s very important to choose an operating system that is easy to use and intuitive for you. Currently, the two dominant platforms are Apple iOS, which powers the iPad, and Google Android, which powers most of the non-Apple tablets. Fans from each camp could go on for pages about either OS, but the decision boils down to several key differences. Android has a number of exclusive features like Flash streaming support and home-screen widgets, but the iOS is generally a more stable and slick experience with more available apps. Mac or iTunes users will find iOS more accessible, while geeks and tinkerers will enjoy some of the freedoms Android offers.
At the moment tablet battery life ranges between 7 and 10 hours, with the iPad 2 leading the pack at over 10 hours. As a rule of thumb you’ll want to at least make sure the tablet will last you through the day, so consider what your average usage might in a day be before purchasing a tablet.
Apple’s App Store is more robust at this point than Google’s Android Market, and has more apps customized for larger tablet screens. Before you buy, it’s a good idea to search for a few apps that you consider high priority.
How portable does your tablet need to be? How large do you want your screen? The Samsung Galaxy Tab has a 7-inch screen, while the iPad has a much larger 9.7-inch screen. With tablets, the choice is more crucial, because size is the only thing that separates them from smartphones like the iPhone and Droid. Some reviewers have argued that Samsung’s Galaxy Tab is too small, and isn’t usable for many tasks above those that 3- or 4-inch smartphones already perform competently. Steve Jobs made the same argument when explaining why Apple chose a 9.7-inch screen size. Our advice: The best way to settle on size is to visit a nearby AT&T or Verizon store and try out both devices for yourself.
Wi-Fi or 3G?
Internet access is vital to tablets. As cool as these gadgets are, without the Internet, they can’t do much of anything.
Though Wi-Fi versions of most tablets are available, getting an always-on 3G connection is expensive. On most carriers, 3G access will run you about $30 a month for 5GB of “unlimited” data. On a tablet, it isn’t difficult to download 5GB of images, audio, and video from the Web in a month. AT&T is worse, offering only 2GB of data for $25 a month. Some carriers are even offering a $200 discount on the Samsung Galaxy Tab if you sign a two-year 3G contract. Before signing up for a plan like this, ask yourself if the $200 savings is worth the cumulative $720+ you’ll pay while locked into contract. Two years is a long time, especially in the tablet market.