Hands On With Sony’s Gorgeous New Android Tablets

Hands On With Sony’s Gorgeous New Android Tablets
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These tablets, codenamed S1 and the S2, are why we need Sony – the Sony we love – in a world where almost every gadget of consequence is effectively a blank slate for software.

Sony S1, S2:
Price: TBD
Screen: 9.4-inch 1280×768, dual 5.5-inch 1024×480 LCD touchscreens
Processor: 1GHz NVIDIA Tegra 2 dual-core SoC
Storage: TBD
Camera: Dual cameras, Rear-facing camera
Wireless: Wi-Fi and WAN (3G/4G) support, DLNA streaming support

The S1, dead on, looks like any (every?) other 10-inchish tablet. (Its 1280×768 screen measures 9.4 inches, for bean counters. It’s nice.) But then you catch the side. It’s curved, tapering to a sliver. Huh. And then you hold it. It’s exactly like a magazine where you’ve folded back the cover. (You know, if you’re a fan of magazines that weigh over a pound.) The centre of gravity is placed with intent. It feels right, if a couple of hundred grams weightier than I’d like. But unlike every other major Android 3.0 tablet out there, it’s actually designed to be used in portrait mode. Bless you, Sony.

I appreciate the problem Sony’s trying to solve with the S2: How do you shove a 10-inch tablet into your pocket? A fat glasses case that opens up to reveal a pair of 5.5-inch screens, the S2 may ultimately be a weird, silly thing. God knows, the other twin-screen Android thing we’ve used was a sad, sad device. It’ll require more software wizardry than hardware magic – and I’ve got something less than faith in Android or Sony delivering that. I very hope I’m terribly wrong. What I won’t be wrong about: That AT&T as the exclusive provider of 3G for this thing makes me sad.

Perhaps the only ugly thing about these: The current state of Android on tablets. More apps, please. And maybe the price.