Hands On with Sony's Gorgeous New Android Tablets

Illustration for article titled Hands On with Sony's Gorgeous New Android Tablets

These tablets, codenamed S1 and the S2, are why we need Sony—the Sony we love—in a world where almost every gadget of consequence is effectively a blank slate for software.


The S1, dead on, looks like any (every?) other 10-inchish tablet. (Its 1280×768 screen measures 9.4 inches, for bean counters. It's nice.) But then you catch the side. It's curved, tapering to a sliver. Huh. And then you hold it. It's exactly like a magazine where you've folded back the cover. (You know, if you're a fan of magazines that weigh over a pound.) The center of gravity is placed with intent. It feels right, if a couple hundred grams weightier than I'd like. But unlike every other major Android 3.0 tablet out there, it's actually designed to be used in portrait mode. Bless you, Sony.

I appreciate the problem Sony's trying to solve with the S2: How do you shove a 10-inch tablet into your pocket? A fat glasses case that opens up to reveal a pair of 5.5-inch screens, the S2 may ultimately be a weird, silly thing. God knows, the other twin-screen Android thing we've used was a sad, sad device. It'll require more software wizardry than hardware magic—and I've got something less than faith in Android or Sony delivering that. I very hope I'm terribly wrong. What I won't be wrong about: That AT&T as the exclusive provider of 3G for this thing makes me sad.

Perhaps the only ugly thing about these: The current state of Android on tablets. More apps, please. And maybe the price.

Sony S1, S2:
Price: TBD
Screen: 9.4-inch 1280×768, dual 5.5-inch 1,024 x 480 LCD touchscreens
Processor: 1 GHz NVIDIA Tegra 2 dual-core SoC
Storage: TBD
Camera: Dual cameras, Rear-facing camera
Wireless: Wi-Fi and WAN (3G/4G) support, DLNA streaming support



Ever since CES last year when I saw a dual-screen clam tablet (which did indeed suck) I've been convinced that, that is the "winning" form factor- It just feels better in your hands, feels more protected, there's more things you can do with it, etc.

I think, ultimately, the book-ish tablet (maybe not sony's, but somebody's) is going to have a big market share.