Is this Sony's next-generation tablet, or merely a concept? Visitors at Sony's CES booth seemingly had more questions than answers while viewing this prototype PC behind a glass enclosure. The oval shape was visually striking, but it was rather disappointing to see so much wasted space wasted on the bezel surrounding the screen. The illuminated Sony logo is a nice touch.
The thin concept tablet was reminiscent of Apple's iPad 2, which has a similar silver rear enclosure and rounded edges. However, this Sony device appeared just a little bit thicker than the iPad 2. You can see a headphone port in this image.
The backside of the Sony concept tablet is beautiful, but does not make any sense from a usability standpoint. From top to bottom, the illuminated buttons are Power, Volume +, Volume -, and Back. What happens if one were to hold this tablet in landscape mode? It seems that it would be rather easy to hit these buttons on accident, which could be a major design flaw. There is also a rear camera.
Wireless keyboards are a dime a dozen these days, but somehow Sony created one unlike any other. The illuminated set of keys is rather stunning, but it is rather perplexing that there were no indentions at the bottom of the F and J keys like other keyboards. Regardless, this would be a very crave-worthy accessory if it ever hits retail shelves.
The other concept PC to appear at Sony's CES booth is a rather compelling hybrid option. In this picture, the tablet docks with a keyboard attachment that also contains a large panel of speakers behind the screen. The letters on the keyboard are also bronze, which adds to the visual appeal. The overall setup is super thin and super sexy.
The hybrid tablet PC played a video showing off some possible functionality in the device. It seems that Sony is also developing a new user interface for its next-generation tablets, but details are rather scarce. In our observations, it seems Sony is focusing on making simple tasks--such as writing an e-mail--less intrusive to the overall experience.
Akin to its mouse and keyboard accessories, Sony could offer a range of multicolored styluses to go with its portable computers. This also suggests that we may one day see a range of colorful hybrid tablet PCs from the company.
When undocked from the base station, the hybrid tablet PC is about as thin as can be. This is a rather big change from the Sony Tablet S, which is very thick. This concept is not much thicker than Apple's iPad 2.
It is hard to tell without any further information if the base station is merely a keyboard and speaker attachment, or if it offers further enhancements like additional graphics power. Regardless, the display fits snug into the base station and makes for a rather slick overall appearance.