Sony confirms it will introduce tablet this year

Sony tablet concept

In February, just as anticipation over the Xperia Play’s existence and forthcoming release hit a fever pitch, rumors of a PlayStation-certified, Vaio-branded tablet cropped up. The original report included content plans and even early specs, including the fact that it would run Android 3.0 and join the small, elite cluster of Honeycomb tablets. Now, Sony CEO Howard Stringer has confirmed to Japanese publication Nikkei that the device will become a reality this summer.

Bloomberg first reported the confirmation this morning, which also revealed that the tablet (which early claims said is codenamed the S1) will hit US shelves first.

Of course, what about those S2 rumblings? Shortly after the S1 speculation began, there was also mention of a second project, the clamshell-shaped S2. The device (from early renderings and specs) takes an extremely non-traditional approach to tablets, and was even initially described as an “electronic book with enhanced features.” As you can see from the mockups, the S1 also puts a unique spin on the tablet, but at least keeps a more similar shape and size. This and the early look at its specs seem to point to the S1 for the first Sony tablet release. Early reports said that this could be by the end of summer, but since then has been amended to year’s end.

Sony’s been taking its good, sweet time entering the tablet wars. And being the major computing manufacturer it is, you had to imagine this was only a matter of time. The company has been investing ample time and money into product features, like its media platform Qriocity and its cross-platform gaming model PlayStation Suite – all of which Sony may be planning to solidify before it introduces a tablet based on this content.

Suffice it to say we’re excited to see what Sony can bring to the table. Here’s a quick refresher on the S1:

  • 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 (Honeycomb)
  • (Relatively) button-free chassis; volume controls and (possibly) designated Qriocity button
  • Wi-Fi only version rumored to cost $599 and ship in September
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