The Android tablet game is about to get a little more interesting. Rumors have been circulating heavily that Sony is in fact working on a tablet of their own, and Engadget has gotten the inside story from some supposed, highly trusted sources. Sony is said to be working on a 9.4″ (1280 x 800) Android tablet running Honeycomb (code-named S1) and apparently they are doing a lot of their own customization to the already amazing Honeycomb interface. The “S1″ is said to be built and focused around Qriocity, which is Sony’s music, games, ebooks, and video on demand service that was recently launched in Europe. The S1 will come preloaded with PS one games and PlayStation integration as well a Bravia Media Remote which I am dying to see. So far no official word or further information in regards to the PlayStation suite that will be coming to Android, but perhaps with fully integrated PlayStation capabilities that may be null and void. Since reporting this story Engadget has confirmed that the S1 WILL BE PlayStation certified which makes this a full blown “gaming tablet”. Pricing seems to be on par to rival the iPad, with a possible September ship date but nothing has yet been confirmed. Check out the possible render below and the explanation of this shape from Engadget themselves, and let us know what your initial thoughts on the Sony S1 gaming tablet.
The tablet’s “wrap” design is meant to remind the owner of something personal in the way that it mimics an open paperback stuffed into the back pocket, or a magazine folded backward upon itself such that only a single page is visible to read. A design that also gives the tablet’s display enough angle to comfortably touch-type when placed on a table. It also makes one-handed operation a bit less taxing on the wrist by shifting the center of gravity to the bulbous edge of the device as in our mock-up above. A trick meant to reduce the torque that makes 10-inch tablets uncomfortable to hold one-handed for an extended length of time (when reading an ebook, for example). So even though the S1 is about the same size and weight as Apple’s iPad, we’re told that it feels lighter since most of the weight is shifted directly into the user’s hand and over the wrist. Naturally, the screen UI rotates allowing for right- or left-handed use and we’re told that it’s still comfortable to hold in landscape mode where the bulging edge is typically held at the top.
Although the tablet looks like a hollow 9.4-inch capacitive touch panel sporting a 1,280 x 800 pixel resolution from the distance, the space between the the front and back wrapped panels is actually stuffed with a battery and circuitry including a Tegra 2 processor. As such, you won’t be hanging it from the towel rack. It also features both front- and rear-facing cameras as well as a USB-A port that plays host to USB thumb drives or media devices. The only physical buttons — volume and on / off — are located on the edge of each indented side. There’s also the possibility that the S1 will feature a “Q” (for Qriocity) button but that decision has not been finalized, according to one of our sources. Oh, and there’s an IR port built-in allowing you to control devices other than your Bravia TV. The front face is finished in a high-gloss black that sits flush with the display and continues in one unobstructed sweep to the back of the tablet where a subtle dot matrix texture is applied to enhance the grip. The underside is a matte-silver color creating a nice contrast. All materials, we’re told, feel very premium though it’s unclear if we’re talking plastic, aluminum, or something else.
So, price and ship date? We’re told that the target price for the WiFi-only version of the S1 was meant to match the iPad but has recently been bumped to $599 (a $100 premium) with a planned September ship — a date that has already slipped several times. Of course, any or all of this could change before then, or maybe the whole project gets canned. We don’t know. What we can tell you, is that Sony has another Honeycomb tablet in the works which we’ll reveal soon enough. Until then, this patent application is a hint of what’s to come.
Category: Android News
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