Like Microsoft’s upcoming Surface tablet, Sony’s Xperia Tablet S will be sold with a keyboard cover accessory. Photo: Sony
Sony announced a new tablet on Wednesday, and at first glance it looks a lot like last year’s wedge-shaped Tablet S. Heck, the name even sounds the same. This year’s Sony tablet is called the Xperia Tablet S.
In fact, there’s quite a lot that hasn’t changed at all from last year’s model. The screen size (9.4-inches) and resolution (1280 x 800) remains the same. The 1GB of RAM and 16GB, 32GB or 64GB storage options are the same. And the folded-over magazine look from the first Sony tablet is carried over to the new model as well, albeit with a slimmer, more attractive execution on this year’s slate.
But there are some notable upgrades. The Xperia Tablet S packs a quad-core Nvidia Tegra 3 processor. The rear camera on the Xperia Tablet S is now 8 megapixels (though the front-side 1-megapixel camera is a carryover from last year). It’s also ever so slightly lighter, at just 1.26 pounds, down from the 1.3-pound Tablet S.
But, much like the upcoming Microsoft Surface, one of the more noticeable features of the Xperia Tablet S is the cover that features a built-in physical keyboard, sold separately for $100.
Sony told Wired it wants the tablet — which will sell for $400 with 16GB of storage, $500 for 32GB of storage and $600 for 64GB — to be seen as a premium second screen to be used in the home.
To that end, the Xperia Tablet S comes with a pre-installed remote-control app that Sony says offers the functionality of a $300 remote. Like the Tablet S before it, the Xperia Tablet S features an IR blaster so the slate can act as a universal remote to control TVs, DVD and Blu-ray players, home stereos and cable boxes, whether they carry a Sony brand or not.
Other interesting features include an anti-glare coating on its display and a splash-resistant (but not waterproof) coating all over — think kitchen companion, not bathtub reader.
The Xperia Tablet S will officially hit retail on Sept. 7, though pre-orders begin today. It runs Android 4.0, Ice Cream Sandwich. We’ve yet to get our hands on a review unit, but as soon as we do, we’ll share our thoughts.
No word yet on whether or not Sony has plans for a follow up to last year’s burrito-shaped Tablet P.