updated 09:45 am EST, Wed February 16, 2011
Sony S1 tablet to use Android 3, use Qriocity
A major leak on Wednesday has unearthed Sony's plans to finally join the mobile tablet space. So far only called the S1, the 9.4-inch tablet would run a customized version of Android 3.0. The device spotted by Engadget would be focused heavily on Sony's Qriocity media service and would come with games from the PS1 era likely using PlayStation Suite, the Bravia remote app and some form of PlayStation integration.
The design itself would have a 'wrapped' design that would mimic the effect of an open magazine. While potentially bulkier, it would be both more natural for use on a desk and more balanced by shifting the weight away from the user. It would weigh roughly much as an iPad but could subjectively feel lighter. Sony's engineers have created the "best thing" for looks in the history of the company, they said, with an uninterrupted, glossy black surface that wraps around to the back, where the other side is silver.
Performance would be similar on the S1 to others with a dual-core Tegra 2 feeding a 1280x800 display. Likewise, it should have dual cameras. Sony's other businesses would come into play with the presence of a full-size USB port for external storage and an IR port to directly control home theater hardware. It may have a dedicated "Q" control to jump to the Qriocity service, but that isn't yet certain.
The project is a major one and is an example of a rare cross-division effort in the company, pulling in those from the VAIO team but also the PlayStation, Reader and Sony Ericsson areas.
Cost may be the main obstacle. Sony's pricing is tentative but might already have it costing $599 for a Wi-Fi only version, or $100 more than the iPad and possibly the unreleased Wi-Fi versions of major competitors. Shipping might start by September.
Sony has been one of the slowest to respond to the tablet market and is still without shipping hardware. It had once said it wasn't certain there was a market for tablets, even as over a million iPads had been sold, but now hopes to become second after Apple in the market.