Sony colorfully reveals Android 4.0 schedule for tablets

If you own a Sony tablet, you should read this. Also, we preview a new Wi-Fi only Tablet P variant coming soon in Japan.

Sony beefs up its tablet strategy, but will consumers bite? Sony

Several updates from Sony Japan yesterday revealed Android 4.0 plans for the company's dual tablet strategy and a new version of the Tablet P with a colorful swatch of attractive accessory casings.

The Sony Tablet P and Tablet S will get Android 4.0.3 in late April, according to a Sony Japan press release. Sony did not immediately respond to CNET's request for comment regarding plans for the Android update stateside.

Those who own a Sony tablet undoubtedly hope the company follows suit with the same timeframe for the update elsewhere.

As usual, the software engineers at Sony baked several goodies into the Android update.

After the update, Sony tablet owners can access 'Small Apps' from the main Android menu. From left: Web browser, calculator, remote control software. (Click to enlarge.) Sony

A new feature in the update named "Small Apps" allows one to launch a Web browser or calculator (and remote control if you own a Tablet S) on top of the current screen without having to switch out of the current app. The pop-up Internet browser window works over full-screen video and offers resize options. Apple currently offers nothing like this for iOS, so Sony (and Android) gain some serious street cred here.

Japanese tech site AV Watch says the Tablet P makes the most out of small apps by offering the ability to run the apps on a separate screen, so the top screen could play a video, while the bottom shows a Web browser.

Monochrome tablets seem boring compared to the five new color panel accessories arriving soon. Sony

Also, expect a Wi-Fi only gray variant of the Tablet P due in Japan on April 21, and possibly elsewhere later. The hardware stats remain the same, except this version includes a 16GB microSDHC memory card (the 3G model only comes with a 2GB card). On a side note, the enhanced battery life for the 3G-less Tablet P (SGPT213) clocks in at these rates, according to Sony: 6.6 hours of Web browsing over Wi-Fi, 18.6 hours music playback, and 7 hours video playback. Standby with the 3G model of the Tablet P is 120 hours, but this Wi-Fi only model sports a whopping 260 hours of idle power.

In other news, a new mega app by Sony named "Recopla," which allows Japanese consumers to copy content from their Blu-ray recorders or multi-terabyte DVRs to the Tablet S, will likely never see the light of day stateside.

 

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