Sony to launch S1 and S2 Android-based tablets later this year

Sony Corp., maker of the popular Vaio laptop, announced it will enter the growing tablet computer market later this year with two Android 3.0-based models currently code-named the S1 and the S2. Both will be wireless-enabled via Wi-Fi or 3G/4G connectivity, though the company did not provide details, including what cellular network technologies will be supported and what, if any, carriers will sell the gadgets.

Sony’s S1, left, and S2 Android tablets are to be released in the fall. The company noted that the design of the tablets is subject to change. Click here for details.

Sony's S1, left, and S2 Android tablets are to be released in the fall. The company noted that the design of the tablets is subject to change. Click here for details.

Speaking yesterday in Tokyo, Sony executives said the S1 will have a 9.4-inch liquid-crystal display, as well as front and rear cameras. The S2 will have two 5.5-inch displays that can be folded, and also will feature cameras. Sony did not provide pricing information or specific launch dates, only noting that the tablets would be available sometime in the fall.

Sony is entering a crowded space, which is currently dominated by Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPad. Other entrants include Samsung's GalaxyTab, Research in Motion's (NASDAQ:RIMM) PlayBook, Motorola's Xoom (NYSE:MMI), Hewlett-Packard's TouchPad and more. Nevertheless, many analysts are bullish on the tablet market. J.P. Morgan analyst Mark Moskowitz wrote in December that tablet shipments will reach 46 million in 2011, totaling $24.9 billion. He predicted those figures would grow to 78.2 million in shipments and revenue of $34.1 billion in 2012. Likewise, IDC in December said that media tablet sales will reach 42 million in 2011.

Sony, however, has big aspirations for the tablet market. The company said it plans to establish itself as the No. 2 tablet maker after Apple by 2012.  

For more:
- see this release
- see this WSJ article (sub. req.)
- see this Bloomberg article

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