In the world of DJ’ing there are few certainties, be it the music you play, where you play it, or what you play it on. One thing’s for sure, and that is that technology is changing the craft of mixing as we know it. Controllers in particular are responsible for bringing the craft closer to the masses: they’re bedroom-friendly, full of gadgetry and they bring the time honored two-decks-and-a-mixer set up into the 21st century.
Native Instruments already has offerings in this area in the form of the Kontrol X1 and Kontrol S4, both of which have been hugely popular. How, then, will its latest addition to the family – the Kontrol S2 – hold up against its established elder siblings, along with an increasingly crowded pool of competing models? Is this an evolutionary refinement of its bigger brother – the S4 – or a stripped-down, slightly more economical ($669) controller for those looking to dip a toe into the whole DJ thing? Let’s get under the hood and find out.
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.
Look, last year’s Traktor Kontrol S4 was pretty damn awesome but, at $1,000 and about the size of your average Williamsburg DJ, it wasn’t exactly for everyone. That’s where the S2 comes in. Instead of four channels, it’s a “2+1″ setup that supplements the two standard audio ones with a dedicated sample channel. You still get the same high-resolution jog wheels and integrated 24bit / 96kHz sound card, but Native Instruments managed to shave a few inches, pounds and bucks off its predecessor. At $669 it’s much more affordable — still not exactly an impulse purchase, but within the range of most serious hobbyists.
Last time we heard talk of a Sony tablet, the company was confirming our suspicions about
the existence of the S1 and S2, giving the distinctive Android devices a broad global release time frame of this fall. And now we’ve been shown a private note sent from Sony’s marketing group, highlighting an August pre-order and an end of September release date for an unnamed tablet from the company, a timeline that’s right in line with our initial report on the S1. The device, according to the note, will be available through Sony Direct, UK department store John Lewis, and a third still-unconfirmed retailer at launch. Availability will apparently open up after the Christmas holiday. The note doesn’t offer up much info on the tablet, though it does promise that it stacks up well against the iPad and offers up some “unique design features,” which may well refer to the S2′s clamshell — or, for that matter, the S1′s curved back.
How do you best 10 million in sales of your flagship Galaxy S smartphone? Easy, do what the movie studios do and launch a bigger-budget sequel to an even wider audience. Samsung is holding a media day event in South Korea to celebrate the domestic launch of its smokin’ fast Galaxy S II handset. The dual-core 1.2GHz Gingerbread handset with 4.27-inch 800 x 480 pixel Super AMOLED Plus display, TouchWiz 4.0 UI, MHL port, and 8 megapixel camera capable of 1080p video is already on limited sale in the UK on its way to a 120 country / 140 carrier invasion — that’s plus 10 countries over the initial Galaxy S target. Naturally, we expect variants of the S II, with and without NFC, hit all the US majors just like the Galaxy S did in its day. Stay tuned to see if our very positive first impressions of this gorgeous 8.49-mm thick superphone carry over to the review — should be up later today.
Sony’s hosting a press event in Tokyo today where it just made the first announcement: a pair of Android 3.0 tablets — yes, the very two Honeycomb slabs we told you about exclusively back in February. The first is the 9.4-inch S1 media tablet (aka, Qriocity focused) with a curved top much like a folded magazine and both front- and rear-facing cameras. The S1 features a Tegra 2 SoC and customized “Quick and Smooth” touch panel UI with “Swift” web browser. It can also be used as a remote control for Sony gear thanks to integrated infrared.
The second tablet is the dual-screen S2 clamshell with its pair of 5.5-inch 1,024 x 480 pixel displays, Tegra 2 SoC, and camera. While it sounds bulky, Kunimasa Suzuki just pulled the hinged tablet from his jacket pocket on stage. Sony takes advantage of the two screens with a custom book-style UI layout for its e-reader app, email (keyboard on one display with your messages on the other), and others. Both the S1 and S2 are PlayStation Certified, support DLNA, and are WiFi and 3G/4G “compatible” according to Sony. See the Sony tablets codenamed “S1″ and “S2″ in action after the break on their way to a global release in the fall — possibly sooner in the US.