Sony's tablet discussions never picked up much steam. The company has tantalized the community with its intent to mash its future portables with the monster PlayStation brand, except nothing beyond the word of mouth has surfaced to show any other indication of Sony’s tablet development. Until today, that is: Engadget has finally got the scoop on a still-internal Sony tablet, dubbed the “S1.” Though some details are apparently known, no true image of the thing exists in the wild except for this mockup:
The first question: What the heck is that curve up there at the top? Apparently, it's there to give the tablet a personal touch, so that it feels a little less alien and serves to aid in its usability. As Engadget put it, “it mimics an open paperback stuffed into the back pocket, or a magazine folded backward upon itself such that only a single page is visible to read.” Aside from the hominess factor, the design also assists the one-hand grabbers. With the curved design sitting at the edge of the tablet, the weight is shifted cunningly over to the curve that not only gives the tablet a lighter feel, but also makes it less strenuous to hold during operation. The rotating UI allows for both right and left handed use.
The rest of the hardware is a step towards the premium end, with enhanced graphics capabilities to supplement the tablet’s PlayStation Certification. The S1 is currently set to have a 9.4 inch capacitive touch panel coming in at 1280x800 resolution. The NVIDIA Tegra 2 graphics processor makes way to power the visuals and for Sony’s PlayStation agenda. Front and rear facing cameras are also inbound for photo and video, albeit without any specifics at the moment. An IR port has been fitted on the tablet, giving more control to other devices, and USB-A ports also make an appearance for media and storage. The only physical buttons seem to be for Volume Control, which is to be located on the side of the tablet.
The software will be Android 3.0 (Honeycomb) custom-tailored to Sony’s liking. Sony has created an engineering group stemming from many of its internal teams such as the VAIO group, Ericsson, PlayStation, and Reader to work on hammering out something cutting edge. The UI elements and transition effects are custom and are being designed with the idea of surpassing the experience found on the iPad. Meanwhile, the software is expected to revolve around Qriocity, Sony’s on-demand multimedia service. Other rumored pre-installed goodies include PSOne games, a Bravia Media Remote, and more PlayStation interoperability, though the extent of that is unknown.
The price is expected to match or hover around the iPad's and is currently set at $599 for the WiFi version. The exact release date is not yet known, but speculation pegs September as the target.