Sony bets both ways with Android tablets, phones and Windows 8 slates

Sony bets both ways with Android tablets, phones and Windows 8 slates

Summary: Sony has unleashed a volley of new products at IFA in Berlin, with several key releases for Android fans and those gearing up for Windows 8 - including a tablet-ultrabook hybrid


Sony has revealed three new Android smartphones and a new Android tablet, as well as two new Windows 8 tablets, one of which is a convertible ultrabook of sorts.

VAIO Duo 11
The Vaio Duo 11 can be used as an 11.6-inch tablet or, with a sliding movement, an ultrabook. Image credit: Sony

The devices were shown off by Sony at the IFA technology show in Berlin on Wednesday, with Sony chief Kazuo Hirai saying his company was working towards "deeper convergence of hardware, content and network services" as part of its turnaround and growth strategy.

"We are truly becoming one Sony," Hirai said, pointing to the bringing together of the company's various business lines. "This is Sony's unique strength."

New Androids

As part of this strategy, Sony's line of Android tablets is being brought under the same Xperia banner used for its Android smartphones.

The first fruit there is the Xperia Tablet S, the successor to last year's very similarly-named Sony Tablet S. The new version is slightly less plasticky and comes armed with a quad-core Tegra 3 processor. It will run Android 'Ice Cream Sandwich' 4.0 on its release in September.

Sony Xperia Tablet S
The Sony Xperia Tablet S comes with a quad-core Tegra 3 processor Image credit: Sony

One standout feature of the 9.4-inch tablet is the fact that it is splashproof.

Sony's new Xperia smartphones look quite similar, with screen sizes and pricing being the main differentiators — although the company has not yet been specific as to what those prices will be.

The flagship in the line is the Xperia T, which has a 4.55-inch touchscreen. It has a 13-megapixel camera and a dual-core 1.5GHz processor, as does the 4.3-inch-screened Xperia V.

The Xperia J will be the cheapest of the three. Details are scarce about this device, other than the fact it will have a four-inch screen. Until the end of this year, all the new Xperia smartphones will also come with 50GB of free cloud storage.

Windows 8 slates

Sony displayed two new Windows machines on Wednesday. The Tap 20 is a 20-inch touch PC that is aimed at family use. As it has an internal battery, it is essentially an enormous tablet.

The Vaio Duo 11, on the other hand, could easily find itself being used in a business context.

The Duo 11 uses what Sony calls a 'surf slider' design that allows it to be used as an 11.6-inch tablet or, with a sliding movement, an ultrabook.

The full-HD device can be equipped with 128GB or 256GB of SSD storage and Intel processors from Core i3 through Core i7.

The Duo 11 weighs 1.3kg. It does not have a trackpad, relying instead on a pointer with buttons. Both of the new Windows 8 devices will be available at the end of October.

All of Sony's new devices are NFC-enabled — the company is very keen on easy pairing between them as part of its convergence strategy.

Topics: Smartphones, Tablets, Windows

David Meyer

About David Meyer

David Meyer is a freelance technology journalist. He fell into journalism when he realised his musical career wouldn't pay the bills. David's main focus is on communications, as well as internet technologies, regulation and mobile devices.

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  • No risks here

    There seems to be a lot of conventional wisdom and conservatism in these product choices. Android phones, Android tablets, Intel-based Windows devices. I guess the sales forecast for the Windows Phone project wasn't high enough to justify doing it.
    Robert Hahn
  • But we were promised that OEMs would abandon Windows

    Huh, I guess we were lied to by people like Robert Hahn who promised us that all OEMs would dump Microsoft because they felt like they were stabbed in the back.

    Those people must really hate this news that Sony is still going to be a Windows OEM.
    • The todd's buttocks Robert Hahn obsession

      You really need to get over it, dude.

      Or is it dudette?

      Cylon Centurion
      • Are you tired of me stalking you like a puppy dog?

        Cylo‭n Centurion
        • Are you tired of cloning me like a puppy dog?

          Cylon Centurion
          • Three replies in a row dude?


            Learn how to blog.
          • Four replies in a row dude?


            Learn how to blog.
            Cylon Centurion
    • I don't think too many are worried

      Sony has traditionally had the formula of "Low-end Acer quality laptop + pretty case + Vaio logo + more bloatware than anyone else in the industry = a laptop worthy of commanding an Apple price tag because 25 years ago everyone had to have a Walkman". Resultantly, they haven't exactly gotten Dell or HP to quiver in fear. Acer, Asus, Toshiba, Fujitsu, Gateway/eMachines, and the other OEMs in the desktop/laptop field aren't going to make their decisions based on what Sony does.

      • rebirth?

        I think Sony are coming to recognize that though. These new products, along with their new non-Ericsson Sony-branded phone line-up, might mark the start of Sony getting back to what they were once good at: decent quality at the top of the mid-range. I would hope so anyway. Their reputation has been in the mire for too long.
    • Those products were designed well before Microsofts stunt.

      You do know how product design works, right?

      You think Sony made the Windows 8 tablet a week ago?

      Sony already had these designs about a year ago. Way before Microsofts surface stunt.

      Why do you think MS left it so late to bring it to table. Too late for any OEM's to do anything about it, apart from launch their products.

      You really are clueless.
      • Sounds like Samsung's engineers are far better than Sony's

        We keep hearing that Samsung's engineers designed and released the F700 in 5 weeks.

        Are you now saying those people like athynz, Robert Hahn, and msalzberg are all liars? Yeah, I agree.
  • And the winner is?

    I guess what's being shown in Berlin answers everyone who thrashed Win8 and the leader of the pack moving forward is Samsung. Apple has gone nuclear on Samsung but thats just challenging them to new levels of competitiveness. If Android was the only alternative then they might have had an advantage but with Win8 and Jobs off the board Apple is going to have some serious hurdles to overcome.
  • The UMPC/Origami of 2012

    Looks like we may have yet another UMPC/Origami situation here with Win8. I am seeing lots of experimentations, lots of hardware variations and high prices.
  • Hmm

    Bout time Sony Released that Tablet S replacement! This has to be in the running for best Android Tablet.
  • This is the future of PCs

    The Sony Vaio Duo Slider is how the future PCs should be:

    * Touchscreen
    * Hidden keyboard
    * Stylus

    The form factor is also very important; rectangular displays are very comfortable (like Toshiba's tablet 14" or 13").
  • Other then that locked down crap (windows 8)

    Sony is doing a good thing. i won't buy a crappy windows 8, and will not support M$ any longer. Why are you people loving m$ now? They sue and "try" to kill Open Source. And charge for there crapy O.S to student's teacher's that in 3rd world country's..