Technology‎ > ‎

Sony takes wraps off iPad challenger tablet

posted 31 Aug 2011, 09:50 by Mpelembe   [ updated 31 Aug 2011, 10:23 ]
Sony unveils its long-awaited tablets it hopes will restore its leading position in consumer electronics

BERLIN, GERMANY (AUGUST 31, 2011) REUTERS - Sony took the wraps off its long-awaited tablets on Wednesday (August 31) in a move the company hopes will push it into the leading position in the consumer electronics market and rival Apple's hugely successful iPad.

Sony's basic model of its main tablet costs 499USD (345 euros) , the same as Apple's iPad.

The Japanese company is coming late to the game with its first tablet due to hit store shelves in September. Its release is more than a year and a half since Apple released the iPad and almost a year since Samsung came out with its first GalaxyTab.

Sony had vowed in January that it would become the world's No. 2 tablet maker -- behind Apple -- by 2012, and is expected to stick by that bold claim.

On Wednesday at the Berlin IFA fair Sony Chief Executive Howard Stringer walked onstage to a disco beat to stake that claim.

"We want to prove it's not who makes it first that counts but who makes it better!" Stringer said.

Sony is trying to distinguish its Android tablets from others by having features that let one tablet function as a universal remote, while another one folds like a clamshell.

There has been little buzz generated ahead of the release, unlike the anticipation for the iPad or even the GalaxyTab.

Sony hopes the tablet will restore its leading position in consumer electronics. Once a symbol of Japan's high-tech might, the Japanese electronics conglomerate is struggling under the weight of its money-losing TV division and badly needs the boost of a new hit product.

Sony says the S tablet is unique because of a universal remote inside the computer that can be used to control stereos, cable television boxes and TV sets of many brands.

The company also touted the curvy design of the S tablet, which resembles a folded- back magazine, to make it to easier hold with one hand.

The single-screen, wifi-only device has a 9.4 inch screen, weighs 1.33 lbs and and has front and rear cameras.

A 16 gigabytes version of the tablet will cost 499 USD in the U.S., while the 32 GB version will retail for 599 USD -- the same prices as the iPad. In Europe, the S will cost 479 euros. It can be pre-ordered on Wednesday and will be in stores in September.

Sony's second tablet, the P, comes with 4 GB of memory and looks like a clutch purse. It has two 5.5-inch screens that can be folded together and weighs less than a pound.

The tablet also offers 4G cellular service. In Europe, the P will cost 599 euros and be out in November. Sony said it would be in stores in the U.S. later this year but did not provide a date. No U.S. price-tag has been set on it either since that is up to the tablet's exclusive carrier AT&T Inc, Sony said.

Sony joins a slew of tech companies hoping to win share in the tablet market dominated by the iPad, but few have succeeded.