Compared to the S1 tablet -- make that the Tablet S -- Sony's dual-screen tab remains something of an enigma. AT&T hasn't said how much it'll cost on contract, nor do we know when it'll finally go on sale. Still, the tablet just get one step closer to becoming a real, shipping product, with Sony renaming it the Tablet P, as rumored, and clarifying the full range of specs -- namely, that it weighs in at 0.82 pounds and runs a dual-core 1GHz Tegra 2 SoC with twin 5.5-inch (1024 x 800) displays, dual 5MP and VGA cameras, an HSPA+ radio, a 3,080mAh battery, a full-sized SD card slot, 4GB of internal memory, a micro-USB socket and a 3.5mm headphone jack. Those displays use the same TruBlack technology found in Sony's Bravia TVs, promising blacker blacks and whiter whites. What's more, Sony is opening up about the software, a topic it pointedly ignored when we first handled the hardware, then codenamed the S2. For starters, by the time it ships, it'll join the ranks of a growing number of tablets (most of them 7-inchers) running Android 3.2. And guess what? We recently sat down with the Tablet P a second time for a preview of how the outfit's optimized Honeycomb for those dual displays. Here's what to expect.
Gallery | 11 Photos
Sony Tablet P hands-on
Some of the software flourishes -- namely, a tweaked app menu, PlayStation Certification, remote control app and streaming to DLNA devices -- can also be found on the more traditional-looking Tablet S. Here, too, you'll be able to download media from the newly re-branded Music and Video Unlimited services, whose catalogs include more than 10 million songs and over 6,000 movies, respectively. But some features were designed specifically with the Tablet P's dual-screen form factor in mind. For example, Both tablets come loaded with Pinball Heroes and Crash Bandicoot but on the Tablet P the controls take up the entire lower screen, with the game running up top. You might notice, too, that in addition to tapping those gaming controls, you can slide your finger between them without lifting a finger, which made for some insanely comfortable game play in our brief hands-on. You can also read email on one screen, with the custom onscreen keyboard taking up an entire panel while you reply. Similarly, with music and video playback the controls sit on the bottom panel, leaving five-plus inches of screen real estate for browsing media on top. Since the software we saw that day wasn't final, we're going to reserve judgment until our full review, which will hopefully happen when the Tablet P becomes available "later this year." For the time being, though, Sony's released a (silent) video walk-through of the software experience. Find that below, along with photos above of that hardware you've come to know so well.
Sony Announces Market Launch of Sony Tablet
Two Optimally Designed Android™ Devices Deliver Portability, Easy Handling and an Immersive Entertainment Experience
SAN DIEGO, August 31, 2011 -- Sony today announced the market launch of its first two Sony Tablet™ devices. The Android-powered Sony Tablet S and Sony Tablet P devices combine unique hardware, content and network services with seamless usability to create a world of engaging networked entertainment experiences.
Available for pre-sale today and on shelves next month, the Sony Tablet S device is optimized for rich media entertainment on its 9.4-inch touchscreen display. With a powerful NVIDIA® Tegra™ 2 mobile processor, the Sony Tablet S device lets you enjoy the web as well as your favorite content and applications on its large, high-resolution screen. Weighing in at just about 1.33 lbs., its unique asymmetric design allows for hours of comfortable use and built-in Wi-Fi® compatibility means Internet connectivity virtually anywhere there's a hotspot.
Available later this year, the Sony Tablet P device is ideal for mobile communication and entertainment. With its innovative folding design, two 5.5-inch displays and weight at about 0.83 lbs., it can easily fit into a pocket, purse or backpack. It features the same NVIDIA® Tegra™ 2 mobile processor and is both Wi-Fi compatible and 4G capable exclusively on AT&T's mobile broadband network,1 offering users access to digital content including videos, games, and e-mail, while on the go, nearly anytime.
Both devices run on Android, Android 3.1 on Sony Tablet S devices2 and Sony Tablet P devices will be equipped with Android 3.2 by the time they ship. Both models feature front and rear facing cameras that allow for video recording and capturing still images. The devices also support micro USB interface and SD card.
Sony Tablet devices are also distinguished by four key features that set them apart from any other tablets on the market. These include: optimally designed hardware and software, a "swift and smooth" experience, network entertainment services and cross-device functionality.
"These devices truly represent the best of everything Sony has to offer," said Mike Lucas, senior vice president of Sony Electronics' Networked Technology and Services Division. "From hardware to software and services, Sony Tablet devices embody all our innovations rolled into one."
Optimally Designed Hardware and Software
Unlike other tablet devices, Sony Tablet S device has an ergonomic, asymmetric design which allows it to be easily held or carried for long periods of time. The unique form factor shifts the device's weight closer to your palm, making it feel lighter and more comfortable while reading an e-book or watching a video. The screen is sloped when placed on a flat surface, enhancing visibility and making typing more comfortable. Placing a Sony Tablet S device onto a specialized charging cradle (sold separately) converts the device into a digital photo frame, a digital clock that displays customizable information or chumby with access to over 1,500 fun and entertaining apps.
Software taking advantage of the unprecedented design of the Sony Tablet P device allows its dual screens to be used for different functions simultaneously such as playing video on one screen while using the other as a controller or reading email on one screen while using the other as a virtual keyboard. The displays can also be combined to form a single large screen for Internet browsing and more. By holding the device vertically, you can also read eBooks much in the same manner you would a physical book.
Both Sony Tablet devices are equipped with Sony's TruBlack™ displays which reduce reflection and glare from sunlight or fluorescent light for high-contrast visibility both indoors and out.
Swift and Smooth Experience
A combination of Sony technologies, Quick view and Quick touch, allow for faster loading of web pages, a highly responsive and fluid touch screen as well as an exceptionally intuitive user interface. The large keys of the virtual keyboard take full advantage of screen real estate while automatically adjusting to the task at hand. A numeric keypad pops up when inputting passwords and word suggestions or auto word complete make email and texting a breeze.
Both Sony Tablet devices come complete with access to a full suite of Sony's network entertainment services.
- Sony Entertainment Network services: Video Unlimited is your ticket to the latest releases from every major movie studio to rent or own. A pre-open campaign for the Sony Tablet devices will be offered at device launch with limited content and more content will continue to be released over time. Music Unlimited, available in October, offers instant access to a global catalog of over 10 million songs from every major record label (numbers vary by country). Simply sync to the cloud and enjoy the music you love on Sony Tablet devices or any other Internet-enabled Sony device. A six month trial basic membership from Music Unlimited and a free movie download from Video Unlimited come with the purchase of each device.
- PlayStation® Certified: Sony Tablet devices are the first PlayStation® Certified tablets that provide out-of-the-box gaming with included favorites "Crash Bandicoot" and "Pinball Heroes."
- Reader™ Store: Access bestsellers, new releases, classics, magazines and more from more than 2.5 million titles at Reader™ Store by Sony. The store's intuitive reading interface is ideal for on-the-go reading, allowing book lovers to set bookmarks, make highlights and adjust font sizes as they read. A free eBook download is included with the purchase of the device.
- Personal Space™ by Sony: This free service allows you to easily share pictures and videos captured on Sony Tablet devices. You can also access albums that were previously uploaded from other devices.
Video, music, games and other content can be directly accessed by way of the "Favorites" menu without the need to re-launch any of the respective applications.
Cross Device Connectivity
Control your home entertainment system and enjoy content in new ways. With Sony Tablet devices, you can "throw" personal pictures and video to DLNA compatible televisions such as BRAVIA® HDTVs with the touch of a button. You can also throw music to compatible wireless speakers such as Sony's HomeShare™ speakers. The Sony Tablet S device, which is equipped with infrared technology, can act as a remote control for multiple home entertainment components such as TVs, Blu-ray Disc™ players, cable and satellite boxes, and more. The built-in Universal remote not only controls your Sony products, but other brands as well. Sony Tablet S device is the world's first Android Tablet running Honeycomb with a built in A/V remote control. Both Sony Tablet devices are compatible with the Media Remote™ app which allows you to control Sony devices, including BRAVIA televisions, through Wi-Fi® technology.
Wide Range of Applications
A variety of applications add to the entertainment options. With access to the Android Market™, you can browse thousands of useful time-saving and fun apps. Sony Tablet devices also provide instant access to Google™ mobile services and applications, including 3D maps and easy web search with Google Voice Search. To make app discovery even easier, Sony offers its Select App site which highlights new and unique Android applications in a number of categories, recommended for Sony Tablet devices. Recommended applications will be spotlighted at launch with more to come in the following weeks and months.
Accessories, Pricing, Availability
A range of optional accessories includes a cradle, AC adapter, LCD screen protector, carrying case and USB adaptor cable for Sony Tablet S devices, and a rechargeable battery pack, AC adapter, LCD screen protector, carrying case and detachable panels for Sony Tablet P devices. A Bluetooth keyboard is also available for both models.
The Sony Tablet S device is available in both a 16GB and 32 GB version and will be sold at Sony Stores including online and other authorized retailers nationwide for about $499 and $599, respectively. For more information, please visit www.sony.com/tablet or check out www.sony.com/tabletvideo for a video unboxing.