Sony is one of the biggest consumer electronics companies in the world, and their products are usually pretty high-quality, at least compared to most other manufacturers. So as the tablet market was taking off, they couldn’t be left out of the game, and they decided to enter the market not with one, but two tablets, and try to make them as “different” as possible from their competitors.
I’d say they succeeded doing that, but it remains to be seen if the customers will prefer their tablets over the ones from their competitors. The Sony Tablet S, which is the larger 9.4″ one is set to launch on September 16th, but is already available for pre-order in US, UK and Canada. The prices start at $499 for the 16 GB version in US, and £399 in UK, while the 32 GB one will be $599 in US and £479 in UK.
The Tablet S comes with Honeycomb 3.1, Tegra 2, 1 GB of RAM, 16-32 GB internal storage, 5 MP camera on the back, and VGA camera in front, an infra-red emitter to connect with other devices, DLNA, and a 5000 mAh battery, which seems dangerously small for a 9″-10″ tablet (Galaxy Tab 7.7 has a 5500 mAh battery).
Sony has certainly tried to be innovative with this tablet, so they’ve thought about moving the weight center of the tablet more to the left when you’re holding it with one hand. This is why it’s thicker on one side and thinner on the other. This way, it apparently feels more like a lighter 7″ tablet. The design appears to be detail-oriented as well, while the build of the tablet feels very solid, even though it’s made out of plastic.
One issue that I think everyone has noticed, is that it’s coming with a Tegra 2 processor at the very end of its life cycle. Tegra 3 is supposedly coming out next month, and it was actually planned for release in August. If they actually managed to do that, then Sony would’ve released their Tegra 2 tablet after the quad core Tegra 3 tablets would already be in the market, and selling for the same or lower price.
I’m trying to figure out why Sony keeps doing this, with their phones, too. They probably think of themselves as making higher-quality products than the rest, but instead of pricing them higher, they wait until the end of component’s life cycle to release their own product *for the same price*. This way they get their components cheaper, while they can still make the profit they wanted to make if they priced them higher.
But I’m not totally convinced. I think if they actually chose that “strategy” they’re not living up to their potential. I think the real issue is that they don’t have a product process as efficient as the others. I’m pretty sure that if they worked harder they could offer cutting edge technology in their products, as well, and for similar prices.
But I don’t think that’s even necessary. If they are confident in their product, I’m sure they could price it say $50 more expensive than say Asus (which actually makes pretty high-value products). Maybe even $100 if their product can truly wow people, and is ahead of the others not only in cutting edge technology, but also in several areas. Only companies who don’t create truly exciting products have to fight a bloody price war.
Of course, they would still have to not go over the iPad’s pricing. People see too much “value” associated with iPad, besides its specs, that’s impossible right now to price it over the iPad – no matter what you put in the tablet. At least until the Android tablet ecosystem grows a little more and iPad’s market share drops under 50%, they won’t be able to price their tablets more than iPad, and it will be difficult to price them even the same as iPad.
All that being said, do you like this tablet enough to want to buy it? If not, why not?