Sony has launched its first two tablet computers in a bid to grab a section of the marketplace dominated by Apple's iPad.
Add to that Apple’s vigorous defence of its technology in the courts: Samsung’s rival Galaxy Tab has briefly been banned from sale in Europe and has seen its launch delayed in Australia, while also suffering in American courts.
Many analysts have argued that there is no tablet market, there’s just an iPad market.
Sony is hoping content will help differentiate its tablet from the
competition. The Tablet S and P will come with both music and movie
download services and the company has announced it will gather all its
content services under the Sony Entertainment Network brand.
So the S offers two key features: with a built in infrared transmitter, it can replace any remote control. And where previously Sony would have limited that feature to just Sony TVs, now it works with any manufacturer.
Where Apple locks people in to its products, with iPods and iPhones demanding iTunes, Sony is pointedly saying that it is more open.
The other key feature is Sony’s aim to make sense of the increasing mess of digital music and videos that many users have on different computers and hard drives on their home network. Using the standard WiFi ‘DLNA’ approach, which is built-in to thousands of devices, Sony will scan a network for stored media and for devices on which to play it back. That means the tablet becomes a key interface, allowing the user to ‘throw’ music or films to any hifi or TV that’s online.
Music can be streamed to wireless speakers, as well. Users will also get cloud-based storage, according to Sony.
The Tablet S and P are both PlayStation certified, which means the will be able to play first generation PlayStation games.
The Tablet S has a 9.4-inch screen and is shaped like a wedge. The upper portion of the tablet is thicker than the lower portion, which should make it easier to hold and also easier to view when sitting on a desk, according to Sony.
At its thickest point the tablet measures 20.6 millimeters. It has a 1GHz Nvidia Tegra 2 processor under the hood.
As has become a standard in the tablet space, it will come with Wi-Fi and 3G or Wi-Fi only. Storage is either 16GB or 32GB on the Wi-Fi version and 16GB on the Wi-Fi and 3G version. Users can add storage capacity using the SD card slot.
The Wi-Fi only version will start shipping in Europe at the end of September, and the 3G-equipped one will arrive in November. Prices from £422 and £528.