In February of this year, Engadget sources revealed some information from about Sony's code named "S1" gaming and multimedia centered tablet. While both the S1 and S2 tablets were announced April of this year in Japan, at a Sony event in New York this month, details on the S2 tablet came to light. Both tablets run Android 3.0 and therefore share similar functionality; however, Kunimasa Suzuki, president of the Vaio and mobile business group, thinks that both will be successful in the market based on differences in form factor.
The S1, as we've seen before, more resembles a regular style tablet with two unique differences. One of which is the fact that the weight of the device has been shifted to rest on the user's arm, hopefully making it more comfortable to use while holding with one arm. The other is the stand coming off the back that resembles a folded over magazine. This is supposed to put the screen at a more friendly angle when it is set down on a flat surface. The S2 more closely resembles a Nintendo DSi in terms of form factor. That means that there are two screens both of which are 5.5 inches. It also means that the device is foldable allowing it to more easily fit inside a pocket.
To get a better idea about what Sony has in store for the S1 and S2 launch this fall, hit the break.
Given that these are tablets, their connectivity to the Internet and other devices is an immensely important factor in determining their usefulness. The S1 will be limited to WiFi and there are no signs of a 3G/4G version anytime soon. The S2 will be available with both WiFi and 3G/4G connectivity but there is no WiFi only version. There will probably be some mixed emotions about this but AT&T will be the exclusive data provider for these devices and probably future ones. There was no information given on pricing for the tablets or the AT&T service.
Sony has also partnered up with Adobe to encourage use of their AIR technology. The winning apps will be featured on the tablets and the developers stand to win $200,000. They are also going to preinstall Flash on both devices.
It is unusually innovative for Sony to put a focus on form factor and not simply processing power. Ergonomics could certainly go a long way in enticing customers to purchase these Android devices over the quadrillions of others out there. One thing they might want to be weary of is the lack of a WiFi only S2 model. I think most people feel that tablets aren't yet at a place to be viable replacements for smart phones or laptops. Everyone has a phone that they pay a monthly service for. It's likely they won't want to shell out cash every month for another 3G/4G service or pay a higher initial price for the unit because of a feature the they may not even want to use.