Tuesday 19 November 2019

Sony launches S and P Android tablets to challenge Apple’s iPad

The Sony S tablet, left, alongside the dual-screen Sony P tablet. Photo: Getty Images
The Sony S tablet, left, alongside the dual-screen Sony P tablet. Photo: Getty Images

Matt Warman

First tablets from Sony aim to break new ground for features and to challenge Apple’s iPad.

Sony has launched its first Android tablets. The S and P models are the first such devices made by the Japanese electronics giant, with the S featuring a tapered design and a 9.4” screen, while the P is a folding, clamshell model with two smaller screens.

Sony claims both devices not only offer the best available features in the Android tablet market, with fast web browsing and PlayStation games, but it also claims that the devices offer features not available on the market-leader, the iPad.

For the S, the two key features are set to be a built in remote-control that can be used with any infra-red devices, including TVs and hifis that are not made by Sony, and the ability to use the tablet to direct digital media, such as music or films, from anywhere on the user’s network to any TV or hifi that can play it.

The new release marks a step-change for Android tablets, which have previously sought primarily to ape the iPad slim form factor, while relying on Google for the vast majority of the software. Sony has sought to shift the innovation to hardware, where its heritage lies, a company source said.

Weighing 598g the S model will go on sale in mid-September, while the 372g P will be available from November. Both include USB and SD card slots, as well as high speed web-browsing that the company claims is faster than any tablet currently on the market. Both tablets will have front and rear cameras and WiFi connectivity and 3G mobile internet, as well as 4G where it is available. The S will offer either 16 or 32gb of storage, while the smaller P will come with 4gb. Sony claims seven hours battery life for the P and eight for the S.

Last year Sony said its aim was to be second to Apple in the tablet market by 2012. That will mean overtaking rivals including Samsung, whose first Galaxy Tab went on sale last year, Motorola and RIM, manufacturers of the BlackBerry PlayBook.

Analysts Gartner say that tablet sales will quadruple to about 294 million by 2015.

Sony made the announcements at IFA, where it has also launched an updated version of its eReader and wearable 3D visor.


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