Sony officially launched its new tablet here at IFA — and it’s keeping that folded-over profile. Happily, it’s running Android ICS. We’ve just spent some time with the Xperia Tablet S here in Berlin and it’s looking like Sony wants this to be the center of your media-consuming world. The new tablet pals up with the company’s range of phones, bearing that familiar Xperia branding on a freshly hewn metal slab. Yes, the new tablet sidesteps the plastic build of Sony’s last two tablets going for a solid metal build. Fortunately, it feels just as light in the hand, while that folded design also remains well-balanced. We’re particularly pleased with the tactile finish on the folded-over surface of the tablet — it’s very grippable. Internally, we’re dealing with a quad-core Tegra 3 processor, while a 10-inch 1,280 x 800 IPS display will be showing off all that media and gaming content. Browse our gallery of images below and check out our hands-on video and first impressions after the break.
Sony Xperia Tablet S official: slimmed-down design, Tegra 3, IR remote and Android 4.0, starts at $400
Looks like those leaked slides showing Sony’s Xperia-branded tablet were right about pretty much everything. (Well, everything except the price, anyway). The company just formally announced the Xperia Tablet S and, as rumored, it features a Tegra 3 chip, Android 4.0 and up to 64GB of built-in storage. Like last year’s Tablet S, it has that distinctive folded-over magazine shape, except this go-round it’s made of metal, and measures between .35 and .47 inches thick (the weight, too, has dropped to 1.26 pounds, down from 1.31). Sony also kept the Tablet S’ IR emitter, which allows the tablet to double as a universal remote, and this time you can program shortcuts to do things like watch sports. Rounding out the spec sheet, there’s a full-size SD slot, a 9.4-inch (1,280 x 800) IPS screen and a 6,000mAh battery promising 10 hours of runtime.
As we mentioned, the tablet will ship with Ice Cream Sandwich, but Sony is promising an upgrade to Jelly Bean as soon as it can optimize all its custom apps. And indeed, there are quite a few specialized applications here. For starters, there’s a new Watch Now app that allows for live TV-viewing (cable subscription required), with the option to “check into” shows and share comments on Facebook and Twitter. Meanwhile, Sony added a Guest Mode that lets you create custom user profiles, forbidding the use of certain apps — a handy parental control tool, we say. Naturally, Sony also threw in Music and Video Unlimited, where you can buy content from Sony’s vast movie and song catalogs. Finally, the tablet comes with 5GB of space in PlayMemories, Sony’s new cloud storage service.
The tablet will be available September 7th, though Sony is accepting pre-orders starting today. It will start at $400 for the 16GB model, with the 32GB going for $500 and the 64GB for $600. And yes, as those leaked slides indicated, there will most certainly be accessories. For starters, there’s that optional Surface-like keyboard we heard about, priced at $100. There’s also a three-position stand, with HDMI output and a USB adapter for a charging. That, too, costs $100. Sony is also selling a charging cradle ($40), a plain-Jane stand ($25), a dock speaker ($130) and a carrying case, priced at either $51 or $80, depending on whether or not you get it in leather. We very much expect to get some hands-on time at IFA, so stay tuned for first-hand impressions.
The ASUS news, it just keeps on flowin’. Shortly after getting a sneak peek at the Eee PC Flare, in flies yet another leaked image of yet another leaked ASUS product. This go ’round, we’re looking at what’s purportedly the 7-inch Eee Memo Pad, a handy little fellow that we’ve actually heard about before. We’re told that it’ll ship with a 1.2GHz dual-core Snapdragon processor, 16GB to 64GB of internal storage space, built-in 3G, WiFi and a 1,280 x 800 screen resolution, and it’s apt to be revisited at CES 2012 before launching as an Asia-only product later in the year. It’s hard to say what edition of Android will pop up when this is formally unveiled next week at CES, but we’re guessing that it’ll stick its tongue out at the long-awaited Padfoneas it’s introduced, regardless.
What’s this oddly curved box we see before us? Ah, yes, it’s Motorola’s (joint) second attempt at the Android tablet game. The Xoom 2 is another 10.1-inch widescreen Honeycomb offering, looking to make up for the lost opportunities of its predecessor — slimmer, faster and certainly packing more vertices. While we put it through its paces, we thought you’d appreciated some close-up shots with what appears to be the final retail model. First impressions? Those corners certainly do help keep it in our hands, and performance seemed suitably speedy. It’s worth noting that — at least on first impressions — Motorola hasn’t tampered excessively with the Honeycomb, something we weren’t too happy about on Moto’s Droid RAZR. We also suspect that splash-proof nanotech coating could also be acting as fingerprint magnet. Delve into the secrets of the fitted retail box, some tablet comparisons and a touching reunion with its smartphone sibling in our gallery below, or catch a brief video tour after the break.
Motorola Xoom 2 unboxing
A trio of new tablets from Energy Sistem(a company known for low-end PMPs and e-readers) may not ordinarily turn many heads, but if you look closely at these you’ll notice they don’t quite match your average budget-minded slate running Android 2.x. They’re not actually running Honeycomb, unfortunately, but rather a “Honeycomb-style” skin that’s been slapped on top of Android 2.3 (much to the displeasure of Google, we presume). Otherwise, there’s decidedly few surprises to be found — you can choose from a 16:9, 7-inch or 4:3, 8-inch screen (with the higher-end model topping out at 1024 x 768), and they each pack an ARM A8 processor and either 4GB or 8GB of storage (with a microSD card slot for expansion). Prices are also expectedly on the low-end, running between $185 and $270, and all three are set to ship on November 19th. Hit the link below for the complete rundown.
Sit back and take notes while we… talk about Supernote. This note-taking app quietly debuted on the Eee Pad Transformer and Slider earlier this month, when ASUS rolled out an OTA update to Android 3.2.1, but the company has now provided substantially more details on the feature, which promises to “revolutionize the way you take notes in class.” With Supernote onboard, students can write or scribble using either the keyboard or their own fingers. That isn’t exactly enthralling, in and of itself, but what’s cool is the fact that Supernote will convert each hand-drawn item into an image, allowing users to seamlessly modify or delete their own characters as if they were typed text. The tool also makes it easy to insert graphs or charts, thanks to an “Add Annotation” option that integrates diagrams directly into your lecture notes. And, perhaps best of all, the app will even let you insert photos, meaning you can just take a shot of your professor’s blackboard and worry about understanding it later. Intrigued? Check out a demo video, after the break.
At AsiaD this week, Google’s Andy Rubin noted that there were at least six million Android tablets in use. That number included only those running Google services. One could question whether the briskly selling Nook Color — which is not open to Android apps at large — is relevant to that tally, at least from a developer perspective. It will certainly be the case, though, that the Kindle Fire — also expected to be a hot seller — will be an important addition to the number moving forward.
Still, Rubin conceded, it was a tally far behind that of the 30 million cumulative units of the iPad, which broke open the modern-day tablet category, extended its lead with the iPad 2, and will likely see another revision this coming spring. When Apple introduced its tablet device, it set a precedent for third-party developers by rewriting core applications to take advantage of the iPad’s larger display with “HD” versions. And while there are still far fewer native iPad apps than iPhone apps, Apple is far ahead in the race for native tablet software.
It looks like the AT200 isn’t the only Toshiba tablet poised to land in time for the holidays. The company just announced the Thrive 7″, a (surprise!) 7-inch version of the original. Like its big brother, it runs on Tegra 2 and packs twin 5 MP / 2 MP cameras, though this time around that textured, rubberized back isn’t removable, and the rear-facing camera comes paired with an LED flash. As you’d expect, in exchange for a smaller form factor (0.88 pounds, half an inch thick), you’ll be giving up the full-sized ports that made the original so unique. Instead, it offers a more typical selection, including mini-USB and micro-HDMI sockets, a headphone jack, docking connector and a microSD slot. Like pretty much every 7- and 8-incher trickling into the market, it runs Android 3.2, and Toshiba did us the favor of leaving it completely unskinned (it did include Swype as a keyboard option, though). No word yet on pricing or availability, though a Toshiba rep confirmed that 16GB and 32GB models will go on sale by early December with a starting price of “less than $400.” How low is Toshiba willing to go? Your guess is good as ours but until then, you can meet us past the break for some early impressions and a short vid, too.
First rule of expensive electronics 101 is don’t get’em wet. For the Japanese, however, a waterproof gadget option’s a welcome value-add to time spent soaking in that ofuro. We first got a sneak peek at DoCoMo’s H2O-resistant LTE Fujitsu tablet just last week, and now the company’s making the announcement official. Joining the Arrows Tab LTE F-01D on the carrier’s new 4G Xi (read: Crossy) network is our good Samsung friend, the Galaxy Tab 10.1 LTE SC-01D. Both slates are set to hit the operator’s Japanese airwaves next month, with Sammy’s bowing in early October and Fujitsu’s model landing a few weeks later. While we’re already privy to all the internal guts and glory of the former tab, we finally have some spec confirmation on the Arrows. The 10.1-incher boasts a WXGA display, dual-core processor running Android 3.2, 1.3 megapixel front-facing / 5 megapixel rear camera setup, up to 32GB of storage and that ever useful waterproofing. Try not to be too jealous, statesiders — there’s always that glimmer of FCC filing hope.
Looks like the T408has company. Velocity Micro today announced the Cruz T410, the bigger brother to the recently unveiled eight-inch T408. The 10-inch tablet rocks similar specs as its smaller sibling, including a 1GHz Cortex A8 processor, Android 2.3, a front-facing camera, WiFi, and pre-loaded Amazon content. The budget Android tablet will be available this month, running $299.99 — $60 more than the T408, but still fairly affordable in the tablet world. Press release is after the break.
During a sitdown with reporters yesterday, NVIDIA Chief Executive Jen-Hsun Huang discussed his company’s near- and long-term financial outlook, while providing some insight into the chipmaker’s quad-core future. According to Huang, NVIDIA expects to rake in between $4.7 and $5 billion in revenue during fiscal year 2013, with revenue from its mobile chip unit projected to mushroom tenfold by 2015, to a whopping $20 billion. Huang acknowledged that these predictions could be affected by external factors, including the ongoing patent wars between tablet and smartphone manufacturers, but didn’t seem too concerned about their immediate impact. “At this point, it looks like it’s much ado about nothing,” he said. In fact, Huang foresees rather robust growth in the mobile processing sector, estimating that there are about 100 million devices that will need chips this year — a figure that could soon rise to one billion, on the strength of more affordable handsets, efficient ARM processors and the rise of ultra-thin notebooks. And, despite his recent disappointment, Huang expects Android tablets to comprise a full 50 percent of the market in the near future, claiming that NVIDIA’s Tegra chips can currently be found in 70 percent of all slates running Google’s OS, and about half of all Android-based smartphones.
In the short-term, meanwhile, NVIDIA is busy developing its quad-core mobile processors — which, according to the exec, should appear in tablets during the third or fourth quarter of this year (quad-core smartphones, however, may be further down the road). Huang also sees room to develop wireless-enabled, Snapdragon-like processors, thanks to NVIDIA’s recent acquisition of Icera, but he hasn’t given up on GPUs, either, predicting that demand for graphics performance will remain stable. The loquacious CEO went on to divine that Windows 8 will support apps designed for Windows 7 (implying, perhaps, that Microsoft’s Silverlight platform will play a major role in future cloud-based developments), while contending that smaller, “clamshell devices” with keyboards will ultimately win out of over the Ultrabook strategy that Intel has been pursuing. For the moment, though, Huang seems pretty comfortable with NVIDIA’s position in the mobile processing market, citing only Qualcommas primary competition. “We’re the only people seriously on the dance floor with Qualcomm,” he argued, adding that companies without a solid mobile strategy are “in deep turd.” You can find more of Huang’s insights at the source links below.
Here it is, official as official gets: Samsung just announced the Galaxy Tab 7.7. As the name suggests, it has a 7.7-inch (1280 x 800) display — specifically, a Super AMOLED Plus panel. Like so many other 7-inchers hitting the market, it runs Android 3.2 and yes, that’s a skinned flavor of Honeycomb, with Samsung’s tablet-optimized TouchWiz UX layered on top. Inside, it runs the same Samsung-made dual-core 1.4GHz processor found in the new Galaxy Note, along with an HSPA+ radio promising theoretical download speeds as high as 21Mbps. Other specs for the 0.74-pound (335-gram) tablet include 16GB to 64GB of internal storage, a microSD card slot, a 5,100mAh battery rated for 10 hours, 802.11n WiFi, GPS, Bluetooth 3.0 and dual 3MP and 2MP cameras. In a nutshell, it’s the in-between-sized do-over a lot of folks have been awaiting since the original Galaxy Tab grew stale — a slate that promises faster speeds and some seriously improved viewing angles. We’ll be the judge of that in our review, but in the meantime stay tuned for some early hands-on impressions.
Compared to the S1 tablet — make that the Tablet S — Sony’s dual-screen tab remains something of an enigma. AT&T hasn’t said how much it’ll cost on contract, nor do we know when it’ll finally go on sale. Still, the tablet just get one step closer to becoming a real, shipping product, with Sony renaming it the Tablet P, as rumored, and clarifying the full range of specs — namely, that it weighs in at 0.82 pounds and runs a dual-core 1GHz Tegra 2 SoC with twin 5.5-inch (1024 x 800) displays, dual 5MP and VGA cameras, an HSPA+ radio, a 3,080mAh battery, a full-sized SD card slot, 4GB of internal memory, a micro-USB socket and a 3.5mm headphone jack. Those displays use the same TruBlack technology found in Sony’s Bravia TVs, promising blacker blacks and whiter whites. What’s more, Sony is opening up about the software, a topic it pointedly ignored when we first handled the hardware, then codenamed the S2. For starters, by the time it ships, it’ll join the ranks of a growing number of tablets (most of them 7-inchers) running Android 3.2. And guess what? We recently sat down with the Tablet P a second time for a preview of how the outfit’s optimized Honeycomb for those dual displays. Here’s what to expect.
It’s like AT&T just wants its consumers to only buy the 3G iPad. Just days after we snuck out leaked shots of the HTC Puccini, said tablet has gone official as the HTC Jetstream. As predicted, it’s packing a 10.1-inch WXGA capacitive touchscreen, 1.5GHz Snapdragon dual-core processor, Android 3.1 and HTC’s latest tablet-centric edition of Sense (that’d be Sense UX). Of course, it’s the first LTE / HSPA+ tablet to be announced for Ma Bell’s network, but it’s not like it matters. For whatever reason, the powers that be decided to price this thing at $699.99 on a two-year contract, which has somehow managed to top Verizon’s equally comical pricing for its LTE-equipped Galaxy Tab 10.1. Sure, that tally enables you to sign up for a $35 / month 3GB plan, and yeah, the HTC Scribe digital pen accessory is being tossed in “at no extra cost” for a limited time, but let’s be real — neither you, nor anyone else you know, is buying one. So much for even pretending to compete on price, eh?
Lenovo’s been playing coy with the A1-07, giving us little to go on since we first caught wind of it at the FCC last month. Well, it appears it’s time to ditch those Blurrycam photos for some real-deal promo stills, because this mysterious slate quietly made its debut in China earlier this week — and from the looks of things, it’s already got its mind set on a vacation. Along with a smattering of photographs that picture the slab kicking it seaside, the official LePad A1-07 page shows off some familiar looking specs. As we’d previously heard, this LePad sports a 7-inch, 1024 x 600 display and a microSD slot. Unfortunately, our instincts were also right about the A1-07 lacking Honeycomb; this one’s running Android 2.3. What’s more, it packs a 1GHz TI OMAP3622 processor — not the OMAP3621 previously reported — 512MB of RAM, 16GB of storage, front and back-facing cameras, and a micro-USB port. The LePad A1-07 will set our friends in China back ¥2,500 (about $390), but Lenovo’s not giving up US details just yet. Perhaps we’ll see this 7-incher on the other side of its late summer vacay, but until then, check out its beach body in the gallery below.