When Sony unveiled its Xperia Z Ultra handset last year, it turned many a head and stretched many a hand with dimensions of such enormity that folk unfamiliar with the tablet market may have been tempted to ask if it was an iPad Mini.
It now appears that Sony knew the 6.44-inch whopper had tablet potential all along, as the company has just unveiled it as exactly that on its Japanese website.
In order to perform the trick of turning it from phablet to tablet, the tech company has simply whipped out its baseband radio processor while apparently leaving all the other components untouched, which means it still comes with Android 4.2 software, a 342ppi display, a Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 quad-core processor, 2GB of RAM, a microSD slot, an 8-megapixel camera, and a 3,000mAh battery.
The tablet version also comes with 32GB of storage and features a waterproof shell.
Besides its massive size (for a phone), when it was unveiled last summer the Xperia Z Ultra was also noted for its slim design, which at 6.5mm makes it a millimeter thinner than the new iPad Mini. In addition, it was the first device to incorporate the Snapdragon 800 processor.
Sony evidently feels it can score a few extra sales by freeing up the device from monthly payments and lengthy contracts and pushing it instead as a tablet, offering consumers in the market for a small slate an alternative to the current line-up – if it gets a worldwide release.
The Xperia Z Ultra tablet starts selling in Japan later this week for 52,000 yen ($495), though the company is yet to offer any information regarding availability in other locations.
[Sony press release – in Japanese]