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S1 and S2. Sony's first iPad competitors 

Before Apple released the iPod, it was Sony that was considered by many to be the primary innovator in consumer electronics. Though Sony always seemed to struggle when introducing new formats, the company hit a massive home run with the Playstation brand. In some other universe, it was Sony that introduced the iPod, the iTunes Music Store, iPhone and iPad...

Looking to surf the tablet computer wave, Sony plan to release a couple of iPad competitors toward the end of the year. Just about every computer, mobile or consumer electronics company has a tablet waiting in the wings, show us some innovation please Sony.

Thankfully, Sony is looking to differentiate its tablets from the countless iPad knock-offs by offering two unique hardware variations.

Both tablets are Tegra 2 Android powered slabs, however the S1 has a tapered design which places the centre of gravity off to one side, making the tablet easier to hold with one hand. The S2 pushes the envelope much further with a clamshell design. Two 5.5" screens unfold to give a full tablet experience but in a pocketable case. That's the idea anyway.

The clamshell concept is one that we can see Apple using for a future iPad or iPhone variant, and only Apple currently have the industrial design skills to implement it successfully; without a large bezel between each screen.

We think both concepts are sound, their success will depend on how well Sony implement these interesting ideas. It's certainly not a given that Sony can hit the clean bullseye with their first tablet computers but we'll certainly be cheering them on. A strong Sony tablet is good news for everyone.

Having played with the Motorola Xoom we have reservations about the tablet variation of Google's Android OS, it's certainly no competition for iOS in its currently form.

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Reader Comments (4)

I like the clam shell design. I just hope it isn't a big fail like the Nintendo DS design where only the bottom half is workable. To me the idea of the top portion being screen only is a big let down. It seems it is severely limiting. I would rather not have the top half than to have a top half not be interactive. I guess the only way to know for sure is to wait for it to come out to find out what it really has to offer.

April 27, 2011 | Unregistered CommenteriPad Cases

The S2 is certainly the most interesting but it looks destined to be a failure to me. No other tablets have adopted that clamshell style design so the only software that will get optimised for it is Sony's own stuff. Devs will have to do quite a bit of work to get the most of it, and I just don't see that many bothering unless it sells very well or Sony pays devs to support it.

As for the S1, it seems like a bog standard Android tablet. But maybe thats a good thing, given my comments above.

April 27, 2011 | Unregistered Commenternizy

Sony is a name I avoid, it's Japanese centric Market release schedule has been very annoying in the past. Also it takes a closed developer attitude to the extreme, charging devs 10s of thousands for the privilege of producing apps for their platforms. It's an antiquated attitude that they persist on implementing to this very day, inspire of the negative affect it has on their indie devs.

This aside the hardware seems workable if not aw-inspiring in it's originality.

May 4, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJoe

We agree that Sony's attitude can be annoying, but we still have a soft spot for them.

May 4, 2011 | Registered CommenteriPad Creative

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