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Sony Tablet arrives (almost) in time for school

August 31, 2011 |  3:18 pm

Sony's tablet will be on sale in time for school -- almost. The tablet is expected in stores mid-September, it was announced Wednesday. It's priced at $499.99.

Sony debuted an early version of its tablet in the spring, but it hasn't gotten that much attention from the e-reader world. In that way, Sony's arrival on the tablet scene bears sad parallels to its e-reader. Sony was early to market with an e-reader and had many fans -- but when Amazon debuted the Kindle, that became the star of the e-reader show. Amazon's Kindle made e-reading commonplace, when Sony's eReader could not.

Does the Sony Tablet face the same fate? A hypothetical Amazon tablet has been garnering headlines: "Apple should take Amazon tablet seriously" (USA Today), "Amazon tablet means Apple should 'prepare for war'" (Forbes) "Amazon tablet could disrupt Apple's dominance, analyst says" (Wall Street Journal).

Maybe, or maybe not: the Sony Tablet is getting its fair share of attention. It's announced two models, the Sony S (pictured) and the Sony P. Our Techology blog explains:

The Tablet S will feature a 9.4-inch touchscreen, a unique wedge-like shape and run on Google's Android Honeycomb operating system....

The Tablet P also features a look unlike any other tablet on the market, with dual screens and a clamshell-like ability to open and close on itself. The two touchscreens are 5.5-inch displays and the Tablet P will run on both wi-fi networks and AT&T's 4G network.

The Tablet P is planned for release later this year at an unspecified date; its price has not yet been announced.

The Sony Tablet S's innovative design, which acts partly like a folded-back magazine and partly like a tilted keyboard, has both upsides and downsides, according to this Engadget review. Although they were able to thoroughly test-drive the hardware, the software was still in the works. So exactly how Sony's tablet will behave as an e-reader remains to be seen.


The hypotehtical Amazon tablet will take over the universe

How the iPad is shaking up publishing

Sept 2010: Sony announces new line of e-readers

-- Carolyn Kellogg

Photos: A side view of the Sony Tablet S. Credit: Sony