Sony finally unveils tablet plans – and plumps for Android

Sony has detailed its plans to enter the tablet market by announcing two devices featuring Android 3.0.

The “Sony Tablet” models are due to be launched this autumn, with the machines – code-named S1 and S2 – targeting media-rich entertainment and communications respectively.

According to Sony, both will run Google’s Honeycomb operating system and include Wi-Fi and 3G. They are designed to work with the rest of Sony’s entertainment network services, including some games on the PlayStation.

Sony said it was trying to differentiate itself from Apple’s iPad, which dominates the booming tablet market, and the split-screen design of the S2 is a very different take on tablet design.

sony s2

The folding device features two 5.5in screens in a clamshell format.

it could be just one of another Android phones flooding the market amid intensifying competition

The screens could either display one overall image for web browsing and other big-screen tasks, Sony said, or could be used independently for separate applications.

Sony also claimed that the 9.4in S1 would feel lighter than its as-yet-undisclosed weight due to an “off-centre of gravity design” that means the tablet is more comfortable to hold for extended periods.

sony s1

Whether or not Sony’s consumer entertainment heritage can help it make inroads on Apple’s dominance remains to be seen, but analysts believe there is room for another player in the market, given enough differentiation.

“Although it’s a latecomer in the market, it has potential as what you need is just one big uniqueness that can sell to customers, be it design or whatever,” Lee Sun-tae, an analyst at Meritz Securities told the Reuters news service.

“By the same token, it could be just one of another Android phones flooding the market amid intensifying competition.”

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