New Sony Tablet S runs Android, joins Tablet P in competing with Apple's iPad

Sony Tablet S Australian price and release date announced

The Sony Tablet S (shown left) and Sony Tablet P (right).

The Sony Tablet S (shown left) and Sony Tablet P (right).

Sony's Android Honeycomb-based single and dual-screen tablets will be called Tablet S and Tablet P, and will be priced from $579, the company said on Wednesday at the IFA consumer electronics show in Berlin. The Australian availability for the Tablet S was announced yesterday, with the device available from late October with pre-orders starting in late September.

Like so many other vendors of Android-based tablets, Sony hopes it can make a dent in Apple's sales of the iPad and grab a piece of the growing tablet market. Sony's products take the tablet sector to a new level, according to Howard Stringer, the company's chairman, CEO and president. "It is not who makes it first that counts, but who makes it better," said Stringer.

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. At IFA, the company announced it will gather all its content services under the Sony Entertainment Network brand. The tablets will also be integrated with Sony's other products — for example, consumers can use them as a remote control or show images on DLNA-compatible TV sets. Music can be streamed to wireless speakers and users will also get cloud-based storage, according to Sony.

The Tablet S and P are both PlayStation certified, which means they will be able to play first generation PlayStation games. The Tablet S has a 9.4in 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 20.6mm. 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 as a Wi-Fi only model. Storage is either 16GB or 32GB on the Wi-Fi version and 16GB on the Wi-Fi and 3G version. Users can add extra storage capacity using the SD card slot. Only pricing for the Wi-Fi only tablet has been released, at $579 for the 16GB and $689 for the 32GB step-up.

Next page: Australian availability, and the dual-screen Sony Tablet P.

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