Sony's latest tablet, the Xperia Tablet Z, isn't exactly new. While it was announced for Japan last month, Sony fans have been waiting with bated breath for news on worldwide availability and pricing. Today, we have some more information on that front: the Tablet Z is slated to be released across the globe starting in Q2. Furthermore, the US version of the device (which is Wi-Fi only), will cost $499 for the 16GB version, and $599 for the 32GB.
OK, Sony may have missed the mark on pricing when it first announced the Xperia Tablet S. At $400 for the 16GB version, it priced the device way out of the market, especially when the Nexus 10 is brought into consideration. Sure, the prices may be the same, but not only does the N10 pack a much higher resolution display, but it also has all the benefits of being a Nexus.
Sony has published the kernel source code for the upcoming Xperia Z, its new flagship Android handset. The Z was unveiled at CES, and may be the first truly serious smartphone effort from a juggernaut of a company that has generally struggled to gain traction against the likes of Samsung and Apple.
Sony has generally had the best track record of any OEM in terms of releasing source code and related developer tools for its phones, earning it significant adoration in the developer community.
Sony is firing off Jelly Bean updates for a few handsets this week, starting with the Xperia T and V, with the TX to receive its Android 4.1 update in March. This conforms with the statement Sony issued previously about updates to these devices, back in December. Here's what Sony says is contained in the update:
United Kingdom readers, never say we didn't do anything for you. If you've been patiently waiting for Sony's new flagship phone, you can pick up some pretty sweet studio-quality headphones at the same time. If you pre-order the Xperia Z through one of Sony's partners, you can pick up a pair of Sony MDR-1R headphones for free, gratis, and nothing.
You don't even have to buy it outright - O2 and Three UK are both offering subsidized versions which qualify for the free headphones.
Sony's waterproof and dustproof flagship smartphone, the Xperia Z, is available to pre-order in the UK today from Three, although you'll have to wait until it's released on February 28th to get your hands on it yourself.
We first saw the 5-inch, 1080p phone last month at CES, and found ourselves impressed by its minimalist, elegant design. Water resistance comes at a price though, so you can expect to pay at least £34 a month if you want to take the phone home on a contract.
When it comes to value-added software on Android phones, I'm typically first in line to call "gimmick!" But today, Sony announced a new service for Xperia phones that actually sounds genuinely useful - my Xperia. It's pretty simple, really. You get a web UI that allows you to track your phone on a map, cause it to emit a sound (it even overrides silent mode), lock it and display a message, or remotely wipe it.
Way back in December 2011, Sony began releasing 'alpha' developer ROMs for some of its phones being upgraded to Android 4.0. Then it released beta ROMs that did slightly more stuff. Now it's done the same with Android 4.1 for the Xperia T.
These ROMs are developer-facing in every sense of the word, though, and aren't intended as a way for power users to get early access to the next version of Android.
Rumors have been bumping around the internet for a few days now, but Sony has finally put the speculation to rest. The Xperia Tablet Z has been announced, but only for the Japanese market at this point. The Xperia Tablet Z is the tablet counterpart to the recently announced Xperia Z phones, and it's running Android 4.1 at launch.
The Tablet Z has a 10.1-inch LCD screen at 1920x1200 with Sony's Bravia 2 post-processing engine.
Sony's CEO, Kazuo Hirai, speaking to Bloomberg, had this to say.
"We basically are out of the feature-phone business and in the Android-based smartphone business ... We are more in toward the high end of the market as opposed to trying to get into the commoditized portion."
So, what does that...