Author Topic: Exclusive: Sony 'S1' PlayStation tablet (updated)  (Read 1245 times)

Offline miDnIghtEr20C

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Exclusive: Sony 'S1' PlayStation tablet (updated)
« on: February 19, 2011, 07:47:34 AM »

A leaked report suggests that Sony is finally getting into the portable computer race with the ‘S1′ PlayStation tablet. According to “two trusted sources” at Engadget, the Google (GOOG) Android tablet is expected in September for $599 — $100 more than the current Apple (APPL) iPad.

Sony’s definitely late to the game, but it’s still got a hole card or two:

1. The flap design

Engadget’s sources had a few technical details on the S1:

    * Tegra 2 processor
    * 9.4-inch touchscreen
    * 1,280 x 800 pixel resolution
    * It will use a modified version of Honeycomb, the Android platform created with tablets in mind
    * Front and back cameras
    * USB port
    * Minimal buttons, a la the iPad
    * IR port to connect it to television

The most interesting design decision is the “wrap flap,” a flexible cover attached to one side of the S1 much the way the heavier paper of a magazine cover is stapled to to the magazine itself. Engadget says the cover is strong enough to keep the tablet upright for angled typing, yet it

    also makes one-handed operation a bit less taxing on the wrist by shifting the center of gravity to the bulbous edge of the device… So even though the S1 is about the same size and weight as Apple’s iPad, we’re told that it feels lighter since most of the weight is shifted directly into the user’s hand and over the wrist.

Compare this to the iPad, Motorola (M) Xoom, or nearly any other tablet today, none of which have anything like this. If Engadget’s description is accurate — and it’s worth noting that no one at the site seems to have actually seen the wrap flap — it could potentially make the S1 a much better device for reading, playing games or whatever.

Of course, the feature might also be easily copied if it’s successful. But hey, even a momentary advantage is worth having in this market.

2. It’s supported by multiple Sony teams

Sony is notorious for keeping its development teams separate and even stoking competition between them (as shown in the current PlayStation phone versus PlayStation portable debacle). However, the S1 reportedly has cooperation from the VAIO, Reader, PlayStation, and Sony Ericsson product groups. This can only bode well for the S1’s integration of different Sony software.

Of course, all that really means is that maybe Sony has decided to stop shooting itself in the head with the development of this product. We’ll have to see if that’s enough.

3. Sony will have the only portable console tablet

The S1 is a PlayStation tablet, so games will be a big selling point. What’s interesting is that no other console developer is yet taking their games directly to tablets:

    * Nintendo (NTYDO) has steered clear of tablets, focusing on small portable gaming like the Nintendo 3DS
    * Microsoft has tablets on the market, but it is yet to bring its significant XBox library to them — and many of its partners, like HP, have left to create their own platform

4. Sony’s cloud system Qriocity

Sony is behind when it comes to iPad-style tablets, but it’s ahead of its competitors with the new media cloud system Qriocity. Launched late last year, Qriocity is a streaming service that gives unlimited music and movies for a monthly membership fee ($9.99/month for music, with movies launching later this year).

So far, so good. On the other hand, Qriocity is new enough that we don’t have any idea if anyone’s actually using it yet, and it certainly doesn’t have the buzz that competing systems do.

Sony may also have to move fast to capitalize on its advantage here. Apple could finally move its dated iTunes platform to the cloud this year when it launches the iPhone Nano, and Sony’s jump into the modern tablet race is another reason for it to make the leap.


http://www.bnet.com/blog/gadget-guy/4-reasons-to-think-sony-may-have-a-winner-with-its-s1-playstation-tablet/1756?tag=content;drawer-container



Offline miDnIghtEr20C

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Exclusive: Sony 'S1' PlayStation tablet (updated)
« Reply #1 on: February 19, 2011, 07:49:22 AM »

Think for a second, what major consumer electronics company doesn't have a tablet to show? Right, Sony. In fact, the rumor womb has been conspicuously barren of salacious Sony tablet tattle ever since Apple's iPad was announced back in 2010. Oh sure, Sony's owned-up to the development of prototypes that fill a "very important position" somewhere in between its own Vaio PC lineup and the Xperia Play byproduct of its Ericsson commingling. But beyond that: zilch, nada... until today.

We have a couple of tablets we'd like to tell you about, starting with a 9.4-inch honeypot of an Android 3.0 tablet. Details of which have been confirmed by two highly trusted and independent sources. Known by its "S1" codename internally, Sony is busy customizing Matias Duarte's Honeycomb interface to its own specification. Although, we're skeptical of Sony's software capabilities, we've been assured that Sony's work is cutting edge stuff created by a talented engineering team spanning Sony's VAIO, Reader, PlayStation, and Sony Ericsson product groups. The team is lead by the VAIO organization but will probably launch as a Sony product without VAIO branding, according to one source. Sony's custom-built transitions and UI elements have created a user experience that rivals and at times improves upon the iPad's renowned experience. The tablet itself, we're told, is 100 percent focused on Qriocity, Sony's music, games, ebooks, and videos on demand service that's just been launched in Europe. It comes preloaded with Sony PS One games, a Bravia Media Remote, and yes, PlayStation integration -- though it's unclear if that'll be limited to Remote Play or if the Android tablet will be PlayStation Suite certified. One source speculates that it could very well get the PlayStation gaming seal of approval by the time it ships -- but that's just an educated guess.

Update: We now have confirmation that the S1 is indeed PlayStation Certified making this a full-blown media and gaming tablet. We've also revised the illustration above to make the top less pronounced.

So what about that curvaceous mockup above? A design described to us as "beautiful, the best thing" one source has ever seen from Sony. Click through the break and we'll explain.

The tablet's "wrap" design is meant to remind the owner of something personal in the way that 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. A design that also gives the tablet's display enough angle to comfortably touch-type when placed on a table. It also makes one-handed operation a bit less taxing on the wrist by shifting the center of gravity to the bulbous edge of the device as in our mock-up above. A trick meant to reduce the torque that makes 10-inch tablets uncomfortable to hold one-handed for an extended length of time (when reading an ebook, for example). So even though the S1 is about the same size and weight as Apple's iPad, we're told that it feels lighter since most of the weight is shifted directly into the user's hand and over the wrist. Naturally, the screen UI rotates allowing for right- or left-handed use and we're told that it's still comfortable to hold in landscape mode where the bulging edge is typically held at the top.

Although the tablet looks like a hollow 9.4-inch capacitive touch panel sporting a 1,280 x 800 pixel resolution from the distance, the space between the the front and back wrapped panels is actually stuffed with a battery and circuitry including a Tegra 2 processor. As such, you won't be hanging it from the towel rack. It also features both front- and rear-facing cameras as well as a USB-A port that plays host to USB thumb drives or media devices. The only physical buttons -- volume and on / off -- are located on the edge of each indented side. There's also the possibility that the S1 will feature a "Q" (for Qriocity) button but that decision has not been finalized, according to one of our sources. Oh, and there's an IR port built-in allowing you to control devices other than your Bravia TV. The front face is finished in a high-gloss black that sits flush with the display and continues in one unobstructed sweep to the back of the tablet where a subtle dot matrix texture is applied to enhance the grip. The underside is a matte-silver color creating a nice contrast. All materials, we're told, feel very premium though it's unclear if we're talking plastic, aluminum, or something else.

So, price and ship date? We're told that the target price for the WiFi-only version of the S1 was meant to match the iPad but has recently been bumped to $599 (a $100 premium) with a planned September ship -- a date that has already slipped several times. Of course, any or all of this could change before then, or maybe the whole project gets canned. We don't know. What we can tell you, is that Sony has another Honeycomb tablet in the works which we'll reveal soon enough. Until then, this patent application is a hint of what's to come.


http://www.engadget.com/2011/02/16/exclusive-sony-s1-brings-qriocity-to-9-4-inch-honeycomb-table/