04
Sep
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When Sony announced its newest tablet last week at IFA, the Xperia Tablet S, we wondered how they'd price the device. It didn't take long before we learned that info, and as expected, it was priced out of the market. At $399 for the 16GB version, $499 for the 32GB, and $599 for the 64GB version, it was clear that Sony didn't take into consideration the competition.

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Today, in an interview with Reuters, an executive VP with Sony, Kunimasa Suzuki, verified exactly that to be true. He was quoted as saying "we aren't considering competing on price in tablets." The reason? Because the company is gunning for Samsung's position as the "top" Android tablet manufacturer. In fact, that has been its goal since last year when the Tablet S and Tablet P were launched to compete with the then top-dog Galaxy Tab 10.1.

While consumers look at benchmark device's like the ASUS Transformer Pad 300 and its $380 price tag for the 32GB model, it's hard to mentally justify paying more money for less tablet. By comparison and Sony's target competition, however, the 16GB Xperia Tablet S is priced exactly the same as Samsung's Galaxy Tab 2 10.1. The main difference here is that the Tab 2 10.1 was released a full five months ago, making Sony awfully late to the party.

Sony also hasn't taken into consideration how Android tablets have advanced in the past year or so. With the arrival of tablets with 1920x1200 displays, like the Acer A700 and ASUS TF700, customers are no longer willing to pay a premium price for a tablet with a mere 1280x800 display resolution in the 10" realm.

Sony may be reaching for the sky with the Xperia Tablet S, but I can't help but feel like it'll be another effort that has a hard time even leaving the ground.

[Reuters]

Cameron Summerson
Cameron is a self-made geek, Android enthusiast, horror movie fanatic, and musician. When he's not pounding keys here at AP, you can find him spending time with his wife and kids, plucking away on the 6- or 7-string, or watching The Texas Chainsaw Massacre on repeat.

  • http://wave-france.blogspot.com Supercopter

    And just like Samsung, they're also going for the 'worst in connectivity' crown with their damn proprietary port... Seriously: 3 optional ($) cables for USB, USB Host and HDMI out! Really?!
    http://store.sony.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/CategoryDisplay?categoryId=8198552921644856522&N=4294941478&catalogId=10551&storeId=10151&langId=-1&accessory=true

    • TheWhiteLotus

      I cannot fathom why people want proprietary ports. That is the stupidest decision ever.

      • GraveUypo

        milk money. but little do they know they need a loyal consumer base before they go for stupid milking maneuvers like this

    • SamsaraGuru

      Sony has always done its best to make sure their products are as incompatible with everyone else's on the market as possible - just like Apple does.

      Sony's attitude toward consumers historically could be characterized as cavalier - even antagonistic.

      Unfortunately for them, what Sony and Apple apparently don't realize (or care about recognizing) is that this negative attitude is inconsistent with true creativity.

      True creativity and genius requires that the mind be allowed to move freely and unencumbered through whatever realms of ideation it must to consider, to reconfigure and create that which has never existed before or that which may have but can be improved.

      When you decide to adopt the "us against the world" attitude as the aforementioned have and come to believe you are God's gift to the technological world what happens, without even trying, is that you automatically hamstring yourself, put the millstone of mediocrity around your own neck and then must suffer the onus that accrues therefrom.

      Ultimately, because you are no longer able to create, compete and keep up with the market fairly you must resort to nasty schemes - like making things incompatible or stifling the free market through spurious, rediculous lawsuits.

      It is a story as old as time itself; force people to use your product line and/or destroy those who would challenge your self-annointed status of being the best of the best - when in fact you have chosen to allign yourself with the dark side.

      In due course, both Sony and Apple will fail and fade away, it is only a matter of time; Sony has been working at it longer than Apple and is simply further along the path to ruin with it showing more and more each day in both their products and "maketing strategy" - if you can call it that. It is just not as obvious with Apple yet, but will be.

      Good riddence, here's to when their final days of reckoning come and they "make the world a better place" by going out of existence.

      • Franky

        Excellent resume. Remember when they tried to push ATRAC3 as compression format for their minidiscs when everyone else would start making mp3-players?
        For clarification: I owned a minidisc-player and, and hardwarewise it was and still is superior audio-hardware compared to the vast majority of mediocre mp3-players. But Sony ruined it by a) never releasing the ATRAC3 codec-source to the public, hence forcing me to use their totally crappy, slow-and-buggy-as-hell "sonic stage" software for conversion, and b) trying to score 60 bucks for a non-standart replacement-cell.
        Had they not been so damned greedy when they invented ATRAC, but instead released it in the nineties when they had invented it, the mp3 would never have become the standart. The format offers comparable compression to mp3, while offering higher quality playback. And it was there years before mp3s became polpular.
        Conclusion: These days I use an mp3-player like everyone else. No conversion, no extra-software, no proprietary connector. End of story.

        • http://wave-france.blogspot.com Supercopter

          Remember the Memory Stick when everyone was moving toward SD cards? What a waste...

      • Idon’t Know

        Anyone who says this about Sony or Apple simply doesn't know what they are talking about.

  • New_Guy

    Why does it feel like Sony is always behind in the mobile hardware game??? It just feels like they should be doing much better than they are and just aren't...

    • http://visionaforethought.wordpress.com/ Oflife

      Sony are used to producing small beautifully engineered products, such as their high end audio equipment from the 80s, camcorders, NEX cameras etc. But when they are forced to produce budget products, they are awful! Hence those plasticy stereos in Argos etc. (UK catalogue store.) The mobile device space is all about profits for the retailers, so Sony are forced to turn out mediocre products. All said, the Xperia Pro (keyboard equipped) Android I own is very nice (slow, but functional) and the Xperia S is nice too. They can do it when they try. If they want to compete with Apple (not Samsung), they will need to start using higher quality materials though. The Xperia Arc was lovely but very shoddily constructed.

      Surprise Apple didn't buy them really. Imagine shiny OS X/iOS on all that shiny Sony hardware! All said, Android is going to do that instead, so no bad thing!

      • New_Guy

        Truth is, they COULD compete with Sammy if they put forth the effort. They have a much more recognizable brand, a large library of games, and know how to make beautiful hardware. I think the software is where they're falling short. Like you said, "slow but functional" is not good enough to spend hundreds of dollars on or lock myself into a contract with.

      • Idon’t Know

        Nobody forced Sony to dilute their brand by making cheap junk. They did that all by themselves.
        Sony's hardware is nowhere near as nice as Apples. for laptops, tablets, or smartphones.

  • A.J.

    It seems like a bit of a niche product as well. I mean the splash-proof aspect is sort cool, but I would think most people who spend $400+ on a tablet know to be careful in that regard. If they would want to make a truly rugged tablet in the style of the Casio G'zOne Commando, that would be one thing and I'm sure they could sell quite a bit. However this isn't what they are doing and the other specs on it are a bit lackluster.
    The Acer A700 is only $449 for the same processor, double the storage capacity, and a true HD screen and the Asus TF700 is the same price as the 32GB Sony, but with a true HD screen and a faster processor. I guess it just depends on if people really think being splash-proof makes up for the cost. To me it doesn't, which is why I'm glad I got the TF700.

    • Kenny O

      You are right, it's one thing to have a rugged device, designed to specifically take abuse and to be water proof. You can quantify water proof or water resistance. Calling something "splash proof" is too subjective, I would not treat a device that claims to be splash proof with any less amount of care that a normal one. I guess it nice in the event of a slight accident, but I don't want to be the judge of that they determine a "splash" is.

  • knightsbore

    When i think of high end tablets, sony is the last company i think of. their tablets are odd, and have no attraction that cant be satisfied by another better built device.

  • Amenemhat1

    start the counter to the fire sale, HP TouchPad anyone?

    • aiden9

      I don't think if we'll ever see a fire sale like the HP Touchpad again. That was the result of a project so badly handled from start to finish. From the constantly delayed and outdated hardware to the rushed and incomplete software, and then wrapped up nicely by the suicidal decision to just drop hardware. The fact that the Touchpad were up on ebay selling for a good deal more than the firesale prices is a good indicator that HP completely undervalued their product.

      I'm sure other companies watched them and learned their mistakes.

  • RedPandaAlex

    Who is under the impression that Samsung is the top of the tablet mountain. All they do better than the competition is advertise

    • Idon’t Know

      This

  • Kenny O

    Pretty arrogant stance on Sony's part......pretty sure they will fail. The public has spoken in regards to what they want in a tablet and price is generally number 1. Tech savvy people that will pay a premium for great hardware will choose other options that offer better tech than this tablet.....so who is gonna buy this at that price??

    • btod

      A sony fan. But I think you are correct, a non-tech savvy person will value price and a tech savvy person would pay more, but for better hardware and unfortunately for sony, the competition has better hardware.

    • Idon’t Know

      The market prefers iPads which are far more than the Sony's.

      • Kenny O

        I very valid point. I was more thinking what the public tends to want in an Android tablet. Unfortunately, much of the general public sees any Android tablet as a "knock off" compared to an iPad so they are more paying for the brand name.

  • cloudsnightmare

    Yeah. Samsung isn't the best Android tablet producer anyway.

    • Idon’t Know

      Samsung's tablets are cheap junk. Hopefully Google gets someone else to make the replacement for the Nexus 10. No owner Apple owns the tablet market.

  • ScottColbert

    The strength for Android tablets seems to be the sub $300 market; none of the 10" Premium priced tablets have sold exceptionally well-thinking Sony hasn't thought this through.

  • ari_free

    They probably think most people will buy this for the look and not the capabilities.

  • Kane

    The problem is all these big name companies think they need to be in every market. Stick with what you do best. Then offer good support for that product. This is one of the reasons the economy sucks. Poor management decisions plus corner cutting.

  • John O’Connor

    $100 extra for each sequential memory upgrade? Surely they are seeking some high margins

  • Asphyx

    I work a lot with Sony products in the broadcast field (which they have dominated for decades)
    The thing about Sony is they make great products, well designed with high specs and in every case make ONE design decision that makes you wonder how you could get so much about a design right yet still make one design decision that is so fatally flawed! (i.e. Prop Ports)
    I understand they wish to establish a High End Tablet market where the Xoom and Galaxy 10 used to be.
    But there hasn't been that big a jump in the tech other than Proc cores to warrant a unit at that price point. That model works for PCs where the proc, the mobo the ram type and the video subsystem change almost every Year. But not that much changes in the Tablet world that quickly other than procs.
    Right now the company with the best design is Asus and while ther internals may not be as good as they are in other units the way the unit works for the user is one of the much better designs I have seen.
    Virtually EVERY tablet should have a dockable keyboard available by now! And give you standard ports when needed.

  • http://www.facebook.com/YAYSAVERGN Eric James Salcido

    I'm glad with what Asus did for the TF300T, making the 16GB and 32GB model only $20 between each other. This ridiculous $50-100 price tag per data type is ludicrous and is something that needs to stop. at $20, it might seem like a waste to get the lowest size, but at least there's options, and that option saves you a little money.

  • Freak4Dell

    This is probably the best looking 10" tablet, but design alone doesn't justify a $400-600 price tag.

    I'm fairly sure the only reason Samsung is seen as the top Android tablet manufacturer is because they were one of the first to release a tablet, and they released eleventy billion different models. If Sony were to price this at a reasonable level, I think they could easily compete with Samsung for sales numbers.

  • scarmic

    This one is the best looking 10" tablet to date. Splash-proof, SD card slot (no micro), beautiful display and IR emitter. I think 399$ is a correct launch prize, like the tf300 (budget tablet).
    Yes, I'm a Sony fan bacause of this tablet.

  • Paul Peck

    "we aren't considering competing on price in tablets."
    I fear this will be on the headstone of the tablet in 6-9 months time, people know who the market leader is in tablets and unfortunately that is Apple at the moment, if people want a premium product, that is what people buy, the product has been near three years in the market already, and Sony unfortunately I fell are saying people will buy our product due to the name and the build quality. This may work for other tech products they have but I think they are way to late into the Tablet market to be taken seriously.
    Asus are doing well, Samsung and the other makers are doing ok, but until there is a real pricing structure not based on Apples price range, tablets will not be taken seriously as the pre-laptop replacement (which they are starting to become).

    People are looking for a tablet that will provide what they want at a price they feel is right, Apple are seen as premium in a lot of people eyes and if you have an iPad at 400quid and a samsung at 400 quid, the majority are going for iPad. I am not talking techies, I am talking about the none techy in the street.

    Until a sub Premium price range has been sorted out, and I am not talking 50-100 cheaper than the premium then I don't see any real market place for most people on tablets, and unfortunately Apple are seen as the premium tablet manufacturer here, so its gonna be hard for the others to nudge the blind masses from that point of view.

  • Idon’t Know

    This is a better tablet than the junk that Samsung makes but not a better tablet than the iPad.