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Sony Android Honeycomb tablet due by end of summer

Sony's Welsh chief executive, Sir Howard Stringer, has hinted that the company will release an Android Honeycomb tablet by the time Britain is once again plunged into freezing darkness.

Sony will enter tablet battle with Apple's iPad 2 before the nights draw in, if reports in Japanese newspaper Nikkei are to be believed. Sony's Welsh chief executive, Sir Howard Stringer, apparently hinted to the paper that the Japanese mega-corporation will launch an Android tablet before the end of the summer.

That's a mighty tight deadline, but we've already had hints that Sony is working on some Android tablets -- the PlayStation-inspired S1 and unusual, folding S2.

They'll run version 3.0 of Google's Android mobile operating system. Code-named Honeycomb, version 3.0 is designed specifically for tablets, taking advantage of their greater processing power and larger screen size. Honeycomb first appeared on the Motorola Xoom and will power a number of tablets this year.

Sony traditionally prefers proprietary technology over open standards -- the Japanese giant only recently deigned to adopt SD cards in its cameras, for example. Nevertheless, Sony seems to have seen the light with Android.

Sony Ericsson has produced a number of phones using Google's open-source operating system, including the Xperia Arc, Xperia X8 and Xperia Play. Those handsets run on Android but also add in technology from other parts of Sony's business, such as Bravia picture-processing software in the case of the Arc, and PlayStation gaming chops in the case of the Play.

As such, Sony's phone, laptop and telly tech could make its tablet a serious contender. Here's another thought: seeing as Sony is betting the farm on 3D, will we soon see the first 3D tablet?

What do you want to see from Sony's tablet? Can Sony topple the iPad? Let us know in the comments section below or on our Facebook wall.