Sony has finally unveiled the two tablets it plans to launch later this year. Code-named “S1” and “S2,” the devices feature some of the most unique designs of any product on the market. The S1 comes with a single, 9.4-inch display and a wedgelike design, while the S2 boasts two 5.5-inch screens, which can be used as either a single display or two.
Inevitably, when the devices were unveiled, just about everyone was wondering if the tablets would be able to compete with Apple’s iPad 2. Currently, several devices, including the Motorola Xoom and Dell Streak, have failed to catch on with customers. There is plenty of talk thatno device will have even the slightest chance of coming close to matching Apple’s tablet in 2011.
However, all those statements were made before the S1 and S2 were announced. Considering all the many features those devices offer, in addition to the operating system they’re running, Sony’s tablets could very well succeed in the tablet space. Moreover, the devices could gain a sizable chunk of the tablet market.
Read on to find out why:
1. The design is fantastic
The iPad 2 is arguably the best-looking tablet on store shelves. But whether or not it will be able to hold on to that crownwhen Sony’s tablets launch remains to be seen. The S1’s form factor is unique and exciting. The dual-screen S2 offers a world of possibilities. For once, a tablet vendor has delivered a design that can rival Apple. And that alone could help Sony succeed where others haven’t in the tablet space.
2. ‘Honeycomb’ should be better by launch
When the Motorola Xoom launched with Android 3.0 “Honeycomb,” some wondered if the operating system would be able to hold up against iOS. Unfortunately, as one analyst pointed out, Android 3.0 is “extremely complicated and confusing.” By the fall, when the Sony tablets are expected to launch, those issues should be ironed out. The devices will ship with an operating system in Honeycomb that could finally give Apple something to worry about.
3. Sony is a household name
One of the biggest issues standing in the way of many tablets on the market is that they come from companies that don’t have the same brand appeal as Apple.But Sony is different. The company is one of the most trusted consumer electronics companies in the world. If Sony can properly leverage its brand name, its tablets should have a much greater chance of succeeding against the iPad 2.
4. The screen size is perfect
As Steve Jobs pointed out last year during an earnings call with investors, offering a 7-inch screen on a tablet just doesn’t make much sense. Luckily, Sony announced that its S1 will come with a 9.4-inch display. That should appeal to those who want to enjoy video content or play games. Large screen sizes are important in the tablet space. It seems that Sony has learned that lesson.
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5. Dual displays aren’t new
Some might look at the dual displays in Sony’s S2 and wonder why the company made that choice. However, those who have a broader understanding of the consumer electronics market know that two displays are wildly popular in the gaming space, thanks to the Nintendo DS. Considering gaming will play a key role in the tablets and Sony has already said that the screens can either work in conjunction or separately, the displays should open up a world of possibilities that could attract a large number of customers, especially gamers.
6. It’s all about 4G
Sony has confirmed that its tablets will allow users to connect to the Web via WiFi and 3G. But the most important announcement it made is that its products will also connect to 4G networks. Assuming Apple doesn’t release a new iPad this year, Sony will secure a major advantage, since Apple’s device lacks 4G connectivity. Giving customers access to an ultra-high-speed 4G network could pay off in a big way for Sony.
7. The timing is right
The Motorola Xoom suffered from the timing of its launch. The device hit store shelves in late February, allowing Apple to release its iPad 2 after that and easily overshadow its chief competitor. Sony didn’t fall into that same trap. Instead, the company says that it will launch the S1 and S2 in the fall,giving it ample time to overcome the initial iPad 2 craze and capitalize on the holiday-shopping season. For now, the S1 and S2 launch time frame seems perfect.
8. Qriocity is an answer to iTunes
Sony said it will offer S1 and S2 users access to its Qriocity music and video service, allowing folks to stream content over the Web to their devices. It’s a smart move. People around the globe choose Apple products partly because of iTunes. If Sony’s music and video service can continue to gain traction in the marketplace, it might just be able to market it as an alternative to iTunes.
9. Gaming is decisive factor
Gaming could prove to be the Trojan horse in Sony’s tablet plans. The company said its tablets will support PlayStation Suite, allowing users to play first-generation PlayStation titles from their devices. Considering how important games are on the iPad and how well-respected Sony’s brand is in the gaming space, more consumers might turn to the company’s tablets than some critics think.
10. The apps will be there
Sony’s tablets should also support access to the Android Market. Thanks to that, owners will be able to extend the functionality of the devices beyond what they offer out of the box (which is quite substantial). Steve Jobs pointed out earlier this year that there are just a few Android apps built for tablets right now. But by the fall, that should change. Expect the Android Market to grow substantially in the coming months. And more importantly, expect Sony’s tablets to capitalize on that growth when they launch in the fall.