Sony building single and dual-screened Android iPad rivals

Sony has announced its intention to join the tablet rat race in 2011 with two Android tablets, codenamed S1 and S2.

The tablets are expected to arrive in stores around the world starting in fall 2011.

"'Sony Tablet' is equipped with the latest Android 3.0 which is designed for devices with larger screen sizes, particularly tablets," said Sony in an April 26 press release.

"Both tablets are WiFi and WAN (3G/4G) compatible and users can not only browse the internet or check e-mail but they can also smoothly access digital content including videos, games and books through Sony's premium network services and more, on-the-go at any time."

The S1 is designed for media consumption with a 9.4-inch display, two cameras and a curved-top, "off-center design" that is conducive to extended viewing sessions.

The S2 sports a book-like dual-screen design with two 5.5" displays that can be folded on top of each other for extra portability.

"In contrast to existing tablets, its unprecedented dual screen presentation and usability allows its displays to be combined and used as a large screen or for different functions such as playing video on one screen while showing control buttons on the other," said Sony.

The Sony Tablets will have access to Sony’s existing Qriocity music and video streaming service while readers will be able to download digital titles from Sony’s Reader Store.

Sony is also making a large selection of first generation PlayStation games available on the tablet through PlayStation Suite.

The Sony Tablets will have the ability to control home entertainment devices like the company’s existing Bravia TVs too.

"Users can perform functions like turning on their TVs, changing the channel and adjusting the volume," with the tablets, noted Sony.

"Also, through DLNA functionality on 'Sony Tablet,' users can 'throw' personal content to large screen televisions or music to wireless speakers."

Sony is late to join the tablet war. It will have to play hardball against companies such as Research In Motion, LG, HTC, Motorola, Samsung, Archos and Apple, all of which are already ramping up their efforts to gain a bigger piece of the lucrative tablet market.

Sony is hoping its "fingers in every pie" approach to content and the tablets' ability to work-hand-in hand with other Sony products will appeal to consumers.

For a play-by-play look at Sony’s Japanese press conference introducing the tablets visit: http://blogs.wsj.com/japanrealtime/2011/04/26/live-blogging-sonys-mobile-strategy-event/

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