Sony Launches Android-Powered Xperia Z Tablet

In keeping with Sony’s recent release of the Xperia Z smartphone, the tablet is dustproof and waterproof, and runs Google’s Android 4.1 operating system.

Consumer electronics giant Sony announced the launch of its latest 10-inch tablet, the Xperia Z, which runs Google’s Android 4.1 operating system, and with a weight of just over 1 pound (495 grams) and a thickness of less than a quarter of an inch, now has the distinction of offering the lightest, thinnest 10-inch tablet available in the market.

Although pricing and availability were not announced, Sony did unveil a host of specs on the device, including the company’s in-house S-Force virtual surround sound technology, an 8.1-megapixel Exmor R camera, microSD slot for memory expansion, near field communication (NFC) capability, 4G Long Term Evolution (LTE) connectivity, 2GB RAM, 32GB storage and a Qualcomm 1.5GHz quad-core APQ8064 processor.

The 10.1-inch 1,920 x 1,200 display is powered with Sony’s Mobile Bravia Engine 2, which has an updated contrast enhancement algorithm and a more advanced sharpness filter to improve a media viewing experience. The engine, a subset of the platform found on Sony’s Bravia televisions, applies a software layer to the decoding step for video and for images in the Sony Album app, where the processing is done in real-time.

The Exmor R CMOS Sensor found in the tablet’s camera works on back-illuminated technology, unlike conventional sensors that work on front-illuminated technology. This reduces the noise found in photos and results in improved video and still picture quality with less noise, especially in low light.

In keeping with Sony’s recent release of the Xperia Z smartphone, the tablet is dustproof and waterproof, and users can touch either device to the remote control of a Sony Bravia TV to view photos and videos on the big screen using the device’s NFC technology.

Sony’s tablet entry marks the latest in a long line of touch-screen tablets vying for market share at a time when competition is fierce. Already a strong player in the 10-inch tablet space, consumer electronics powerhouse Samsung is getting ready to debut an 8-inch Galaxy Note tablet that would compete directly with Apple's popular iPad Mini device, a report from Samsung mobile device fan site SamMobile said last week.

With the release of the iPad Mini last fall, Apple greatly increased competition in the smaller form-factor tablet space, introducing a device that was more sophisticated than lower-end 7-inch tablets from companies like Google, Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Samsung's 8-inch Galaxy Note tablet would likely be more of a competitor to the iPad Mini than Amazon's Kindle Fire or Google's Nexus 7 tablets.

An estimated 25 percent of Americans own a tablet device, such as an iPad or a Kindle Fire, up from the 10 percent who owned tablets in late 2011, according to a Pew survey, which was conducted from Oct. 15 to Nov. 10 among 2,252 Americans 16 years old and older.