Sony Electronics launched its Xperia Tablet S on Wednesday, calling on potential customers to play, watch, listen, share, discover and connect with this new Android gadget. Pre-orders for the tablet actually begin today, costing $399 for the 16 GB version, $499 for the 32 GB version, and $599 for the 64 GB version. The tablet is expected to by sold at Sony Stores, including online, and other authorized dealers nationwide starting September 7.
According to Sony, the next-gen Tablet S builds upon the remote control features of the previous model, adding a macro functionality which allows users to turn on multiple devices of most brands, including TV, Blu-ray Disc player and audio systems, with the touch of one button. Users can even program sequenced commands such as "Watch TV" or "Play Music" and perform the sequences with one tap on the screen.
"The new device joins Sony’s smartphones under the Xperia sub-brand," the company said on Wednesday. "The Xperia brand delivers mobile experiences that enhance user enjoyment through design and network services. By introducing a tablet under the Xperia brand, Sony offers users a consistent experience between the immediate convenience of an Xperia Smartphone and an immersive entertainment experience of an Xperia Tablet. Common user experience across the devices further enhances overall usability and intuitiveness."
In the typical Sony fashion, a list of specs currently isn't available, but it will sport a 9.7-inch OptiContrast Panel with an anti-fingerprint coating, Nvidia's Tegra 3 quad-core SoC, and Sony's original audio technologies like S-Force Front Surround, Clear Phase and the xLOUD loudness enhancement engine. Sony's Quick Touch and Quick View technologies are also added to further enhance the tablet's fast operation. There's even an 8MP camera mounted on the back, and a 1MP camera on the front for video conferencing.
"Sound quality is enhanced with ClearAudio+ mode. ClearAudio+ mode, developed with Sony’s own signal processing technologies, allows users to effortlessly enjoy audio quality that is distinctly Sony. ClearAudio+ mode incorporates a variety of Sony's technologies, but with one simple operation, users can easily enjoy Sony recommended sound in ultimate clarity and presence, across the entire spectrum of sound," Sony said.
The new tablet will also come packed with a full-sized SD card slot for expanded storage, Wi-Fi connectivity, HDMI connectivity and an optional HDMI adapter cable. It will also feature Guest Mode which allows the user to set up a guest account so that friends and family members can display different wallpaper, applications and widgets on the screen. Guest Mode can provide parents with a strong parental control tool by offering more supervision over what content their children can consume.
"Tablets are no longer just a personal device, but are being shared by family members, and we heard from consumers that they wanted to have parental controls. It was important for us to provide parents with a solution for controlling what content their children could access from the tablet," said Phil Lubell, vice president of networked technologies and services at Sony Electronics.
The Xperia Tablet S will also sport a splash proof design, allowing the tablet to withstand splashing water at all angles when the multi-port cover is in place (IPX-4 splash proof rating). Even with wet hands the LCD screen will still recognize touch gestures, making the device a perfect companion in the kitchen and beyond, Sony said.