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Sony does a good job with latest quad-core Android tablet; Can it stand against the iPad & Samsung's Galaxy tabs

Sony has further expanded its Xperia range of devices, but instead of launching a new smartphone, the company has added a tablet to the mix. The new device is called Xperia Tablet S (don't confuse it with the company's previous tablet offering that was simply called Tablet S) and it will be available in both Wi-Fi and Wi-Fi+3G versions. Powered by a quad-core processor, it will run on the Android Ice Cream Sandwich operating system (upgradable to Jelly Bean).

Although an India launch date and pricing are not available as of now, the company is planning to launch it here as early as September. As the original Tablet S costs Rs 22,290 and Rs 29,294 for the 16 GB Wi-Fi and Wi-Fi+3G versions, respectively, the new tablet may cost upwards of Rs 25,000.

The new tablet comes with a 9.4 inch IPS OptiContrast capacitive touchscreen display (1280×800 pixel resolution) and runs on the Android 4.0.3 ICS OS. It is powered by a 1.3 GHz NVIDIA Tegra 3 quad-core processor and has 1 GB of RAM. Users can choose between 16, 32 and 64 GB of internal memory, further expandable to 32 GB with an SD card.

Xperia Tablet S features an 8 mega pixel rear camera with flash that can record full high definition videos (1080p) at 30 frames per second (good for a tablet) and a 1 MP front-facing camera for video calling that can also record HD videos (720p). On the connectivity front, the device comes with Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and 3G (in the Wi-Fi+3G models). Plus, it has a microUSB port and an SD card slot.

The device measures 241.2mm x 174.4mm x 8.8mm and weighs 570 gm for the Wi-Fi-only version and 585 gm for the Wi-Fi+3G version. It has a 6,000 mAh battery that should provide decent battery life. The tablet will be available in classic black.

The new device is thinner and lighter than the original Sony Tablet S, and also features a quad-core processor instead of the dual processor sported by its predecessor. Since it is an Xperia tablet, it will also offer cross-device connectivity and network services across other Xperia devices.

The company also claims that the tablet is splash-proof, meaning users don't have to worry about casual water spillage.

Sony is also offering (available for download) Socialife, an app that enables users to view, sort and manage their social networking services and news feeds, alongside their friends' feeds and posts. You can also mark articles for reading them later and based on what your friends are reading, the app can directs you to other popular topics. It even suggests content that you may like.

There is a 'Walkman' app that automatically compiles a list of songs which have been 'liked' by your Facebook friends while the 'Album' app will let you view, sort and share pictures and videos captured by the tablet. This app can also consolidate your photos posted on social media sites like Facebook. Then there is a 'Movies' app for viewing video content and a 'Reader' app that lets you purchase and read digital books. Users can also manage their bookshelf across multiple devices, including the Sony Reader eBook device and Xperia smartphones.

Additionally, in selected countries, the company is also offering Cloud storage (via PlayMemories Online), access to millions of songs and themed radio channels (via Music Unlimited service) and movies and TV shows (via Video Unlimited).

The tablet will primarily compete with Apple's new iPad that costs Rs 30,000-Rs 50,000, and Samsung's recently launched Galaxy Note 800 (Rs 38,500 for the 16GB Wi-Fi+3G version), among others.

(Edited by Sanghamitra Mandal)

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