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Rumor: Sony readying pair of Android 3.0 tablets

Sony Ericsson is not pinning its Android hopes entirely on handsets. Look for two completely different tablet experiences from the company by year's end.

The S1 resembles a magazine folded back on itself, while the S2 features a clamshell design. Engadget

For all of the great things that Sony Ericsson has debuted over the last few weeks, one device it has yet to show off is a tablet.

With LG and Motorola gearing up with their first push and Samsung readying a larger Galaxy Tab, Sony Ericsson would be wise to jump on the emerging market, and according to a pair of recent Engadget articles that's exactly what the company has been doing. If the rumors hold true, we'll see two Honeycomb tablets bearing the Sony brand in time for the holiday shopping season.

While neither of these looks to carry a traditional tablet form factor, the S1 bears the most resemblance to today's devices. Sporting a 9.4-inch, 1,280x800-pixel-resolution touch screen and running Android 3.0, this tablet is said to be the Vaio team's latest project. Features are said to include a dual-core Tegra 2 processor, front and rear cameras, and a USB-A port for reading thumbdrives and media.

As one might expect, Sony is currently customizing the experience to incorporate its own services, such as Qriocity, Bravia, and PlayStation. Engadget is also reporting that the S1 will be PlayStation Certified, indicating it will get access to a host of exclusive Sony games, much like the Xperia Play.

The S1 design is said to mimic the feeling of "a magazine folded backward upon itself," which should lend itself to a natural way of holding the tablet. There should be just enough angle to allow comfortable typing when placed on a lap or desktop. Also, thanks to the weight being shifted to one side of the device, users can expect less wrist strain when using it one-handed, Engadget said. The face of the tablet is finished in a high-gloss black and the bottom is a matte silver.

Sony's second tablet, the S2, will offer similar hardware internally but feature a completely different design. Where the S1 has one large screen, the S2 will have two 5.5-inch screens that combine to form a larger display. The tablet will fold in half like a clamshell phone and resemble a oval cylinder when closed.

Engadget isn't certain as to whether the S2 will be PlayStation Certified but does note it will offer Qriocity support. As they are doing for the S1, the Sony team is customizing the experience of the S2 to take advantage of the dual screens.

Internally, the S1 is garnering very positive reviews, with one Sony insider calling it the "best thing" that person has ever seen from the company, according to Engadget. Unfortunately, the S2 is getting less favorable buzz, with one source calling it a "dog," while another indicates that the gap between the displays is too large.

As far as pricing and release dates, Engadget expects the Wi-Fi-only version of the S1 to fetch $599, which is the same as what the Motorola Xoom goes for with a contract with Verizon. Expect to see this tablet in stores near the end of 2011, possibly as early as September. Pricing for the S2 is said to be $699, which is considerably higher than most tablets. The S2 is also due by year's end.