The last few days have seen some rather exciting developments in the Sony camp. After rather a lot of speculation regarding its intentions to expand into the tablet market, Sony has officially announced thatit’s diving in head first with the new S1 and S2.
And not only is Sony looking to enter the market, but it’s looking to take it by storm. Japanese electronics experts at Sony say that they’re aiming to achieve the second biggest tablet market share behind the Steve Jobs’ Apple, and that the company is aiming to do so within a year.
The next big piece of news wrapped up in this announcement is that Sony has chosen to use Google’s Android OS to power its new devices. The yet-to-be-named tablets – called, for now, the S1 and S2 – will use Google’s new Honeycomb OS, which has been developed especially for tablet devices, and are set for release in September this year.
Sony is world-renowned for producing quality, highly sought after consumer technology, and its reputation as a big player in the gaming world has largely remained flawless. The company’s ambitions of producing their very own portable entertainment device with integrated email and social media capabilities and fast, responsive Internet browsing facilities has the tech world on the edge of its collective seat.
Many years ago, Apple bosses were warned to watch their backs after launching the first iPod, for Sony would, it was predicted, inevitably come up with a stronger contender. But we never did see such a development. Nothing actually happened. So will it this time, we wonder? Whatever the outcome, we can only speculate for now. With so many contenders braving the shiny new tablet market at the moment, Sony may well be in with the chance of coming up with the Apple-bashing goods.
Now, on to the technical stuff. The Sony S1 Tablet will sport a 9.4-inch displaywhich, says tech website Expansys, can be operated as a “universal remote control for a variety of AV devices, starting with Bravia [Sony televisions]”. It will also be enable users to play multimedia through their TV screen or speakers via DLNA. That snippet of info came straight from the horse’s mouth – that horse being none other than Sony’s own Kunimasa Suzuki.
From the front this tablet looks remarkably like the rest of the world’s tablet offerings, but the S1 is in fact a little bit different. While tablets have so far been flat slate-style objects, there’s a curious lop-sided weighting to this device.
The pronounced fat edge gives the S1 a wonky centre of gravity which, says Sony, will offer users a better ergonomic experience than current tablet counterparts. If you can imagine a magazine folded back on itself - front cover to back cover, as if you were to read it standing on a train –you will be able to picture the weighting of the device, which favours extended one handed use.The outer casing for the S2, on the other hand, will sport a curiously rounded folding clam-shell design, while the double 5.5-inch display can either be used separately (with the top screen as the display and the bottom screen as the controller, for example) or together to form one large display.
With regards to price and an official release date, watch this space. Because the iPad 2 is so affordable, the S1 and S2 are going to have to compete pretty fiercely in terms of cost as well as deign and functionality.