Hot off the heels of the IFA announcement, Sony Australia had a couple of Tablet S devices in for Australians to play around with.
The specs are decidedly boring as far as tablets go: it's yet another Tegra 2, 512MB RAM, 1280x800 product available in 16GB (AU$579) and 32GB (AU$689) flavours. For whatever reason Sony has chosen to shrink its screen compared to its competitor, opting for 9.4 inches over the usual 10.1.
It should be running Android 3.2 by the time it hits at the end of October — interestingly, about the same time Ice Cream Sandwich is likely to be launched.
Sony's watchword for 2011 has been integration, trying to make all its separate divisions trying to work with each other. To this end, one of the Tablet S's key features is its DLNA software, which literally allows you to "throw" pictures or videos to DLNA-compatible TVs on the network, or stream music to DLNA-enabled devices like wireless speakers (of which Sony conveniently also launched today).
The Tablet S also acts as a universal TV remote, learning signals from your existing remote controllers. We're one step closer to the media-enabled house we always wanted.
One of the stereo speakers, with the image also showing off the unique underside of the Tablet S. Despite the thick curve at one side in an attempt to emulate a book, at the other side the plastic is reasonably sharp. We found our hands getting quite uncomfortable holding it in a landscape orientation as a result.
Sony was running Zinio's app in an attempt to show how the Tablet S could potentially replace a magazine. The experience was sadly stutter-like, with reasonably low quality imagery. You'll want to hold onto that printed pulp just a little longer. The front-mounted, 0.3MP camera can be seen here, too.
Holding the Tablet S in portrait works a lot better thanks to its tapered design, which also attempts to redistribute the centre of gravity to your hand to make it easier to use the tablet for long periods of time. At 598g, though, it's outdone, just barely, by the Asus Transformer.
Just like the Sony Ericsson Xperia Play (or SEX Play, for short), the Tablet S is PlayStation certified. Here we are playing an emulated version of the PS1 version of Crash Bandicoot. The touchscreen isn't great for gaming, and appears to only take around five simultaneous touches, but it works well enough to have fun.