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Entries in Clamshell (1)

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.