Sony’s new S1 and S2 tablets are official, after months of heated gossip. The Android 3.0 slates aren’t due out until the autumn, but both look like serious contenders for the iPad’s crown. Here’s our Top 10 reasons the S1 and S2 have got what it takes to take a bite out of Apple.
1 Sony’s complete ecosystem
No other Android tablet maker has the full gamut of in-house software available to them in the same way that Sony does. This will mean a huge amount in its battle with the iPad and will allow Sony to bridge the gap between Apple’s closed ecosystem and Android’s ostensibly open one. This plays into a number of key areas, starting with...
2 Qriocity for music and video
Sony’s service is loaded up with six million tracks for streaming, costing £9.99 a month for the full-fat version. There’s also the chance to buy tunes and video from an on-board Qriocity store, giving the S1 and S2 something that other Android tablets can only dream of: A full-on media emporium.
3 PlayStation Suite
Sony’s ‘hardware neutral’ gaming app store is on its way to both the S1 and S2. That means stacks of classic PSOne games on a form factor that Sony has complete control over. It’s the most likely contender to the iPad’s tablet gaming throne and will make both tabs are well worth a punt if you love mobile gaming.
4 Reader Store
The iBooks store makes the iPad a breezy eReader, but Sony’s previous form with its excellent Readers and the inclusion of the Reader Store on the S1 and S2 will make each device a decent alternative to Apple’s tablet, not to mention every bit as good as its Android stablemates.
5 DLNA and Bravia connectivity
Sony’s big advantage over Apple comes in the living room. Its Bravia TVs are set to play nice with the S1 and S2 thanks to DLNA tech, which will let users ‘throw’ shows to their boxes, as well as control them using infrared tech. The iPad’s remote skills are limited, while these tablets are more all-round universal controllers.
6 Unique designs
The ‘folded magazine’ look of the S1 and the dual touchscreen design of the S2 make for a unique approach and one which gives Sony’s efforts a distinct advantage over rivals. They can be quickly and easily differentiated, something that’s tough in this ‘me too’ tablet world. The iPad might be thin, but these tabs look like nothing else.
*7 Sony, not Sony Ericsson
This makes a huge difference to the S1 and S2’s chances. Sony Ericsson has been hung out to dry by its parent company in recent years, especially with the Xperia Play’s lack of PlayStation branding. These tablets are the real deal and Sony clearly wants to stamp its brand all over them, rather than leave it to its mobile arm.
8 Android 3.0
The S1 and S2 could provide the tipping point for Honeycomb. Tablets using the OS are slowly getting to market, but the power of the Sony brand could help it in its ongoing battle to best iOS and become the tablet operating system of choice.
9 3G and 4G
This isn’t a huge deal on UK shores, where 4G is still a pipe dream. But in the States, this will help the S1 and S2 open up a lead over the one-paced iPad, as well as go toe-to-toe with the likes of the Motorola Xoom and BlackBerry PlayBook.
10 Release timing
Autumn might seem a tad vague. But if Sony gets the S1 and S2 on shelves by October, it could have a big effect on sales. The iPad 2 will be old news by then, meaning punters might want something new, different and exciting. Expect Apple to fire back at Sony sooner rather than later.