Sony has come clean with its tablet plans: it will launch a pair of of them, but it's waiting until the autumn to do so. Previously, it pointed to a summer release. And neither may look like the preview images the Japanese giant posted today, the company warned. The design is "subject to change". S1 and S2 tablets The line …
The S2 is far too small and the S1 is... meh.
If those images are even close to the final product then Sony seem to have made the same mistake with the S2 as they did with the VAIO P. It's not enough to impressively cram a load of tech into a small space; it has to be usable.
The Microsoft Courier concept was clearly meant to spend the bulk, if not all, of its time in a landscape orientation with the two screens side by side. This would probably have worked, since each screen was big enough to use on its own and there was a distinct separation of the two screens in the user's mind. Almost like source and destination screens a la Directory Opus, with the genius of having the gap in between as a sort of clipboard.
The S2 is too small to make that work, except perhaps for e-books. And the minute you have to use it with the screens above and below each other that hinge area becomes an enormous problem.
For a web page spread across both screens the display would either have to break at the bottom of the first screen and continue at the top of the second, which is amazingly distracting when scrolling, or it would be rendered as a single virtual page passing 'behind' the hinge, which would be even worse. Psychologically the user would be more likely to remember those annoying times when what she wanted to read was just below the hinge, necessitating a small scroll, rather than all the times when it wasn't. After a short period of use it would start to seem that what she was interested in was ALWAYS just below the bar, leading to frustration with the device as a whole.
And the S1 looks like a cross between an iPad and a MacBook Air, totally uninspiring. Does anyone else remember the days when Sony designed beautiful kit? I still have a decade-old TR1MP sitting on one of my desks and despite being laughably thick by current standards it's still a striking bit of industrial design. Sony and Samsung were always the ones that stood out when it came to the design of their portables. These days it seems all they can do is copy Apple.
Or am I being unfair? In an age where all devices are getting smaller and thinner, and losing ports and drives in favour of cloud connectivity, perhaps it's inevitable that everything will end up looking somewhat like an iPad 2 or a MacBook Air?
How tied will this be to the PSN?
If these devices are going to be able to play PS games is would seem logical that it it would be pretty well tied to the PSN system.
There are some other things to consider here.
1) How will threaten Playstation Sales?
2) If it is pretty well tied to the PSN will Sony be forcing updates via the PSN
3) After their little spat with Hotz, how many gamers will forging SONY and stump up the readines for one of these?
According to the BBC:
"The company suggested that there would also be some form of integration with its PlayStation network and the possibility of gaming functions."
but they'd have to get the network working first ;)
I see what looks suspiciously like an x, circle, square and triangle there on the back...
Same old same old
Nice to see even more CGI pictures being touted as "new products". Can we see an actual, working product instead of something some guy knocked up in Blender the other day?
There's a video from the presentation, with working models of both. Reg somehow missed that.
That video is a bit weird, the Sony executive on stage seems to be trying really hard not to touch the screen at all. He always holds it by the edge. The demo is then shown by a completely different set of hands (maybe at the research lab)
I wouldn't call it working models based on that...
Well, working in that they're clearly actual boxes with actual electronics and actual screens that do something, not a non-functional demo box or a render (as the OP bemoaned, reasonably since Reg didn't give any indication of this video). They're pretty obviously not final hardware, as you noted, but equally, not vaporware or render porn.
Given how great Sony has been at industrial design these look awful, especially the clamshell. It looks like a kids toy rather than what will probably be quite an expensive device.
Looks like a rounded rectangle with a black surround to me, Apple won't be pleased.
Anyone notice something?
The words "iPad Killer" were missing from this article.
We spent the whole of 2010 reading about "iPad Killers", yet every "iPad Killer" died an unseemly death at the hands of the consumer (if it even managed to get that far).
Maybe 2011 is a year of reality.
My first instinct when looking at the folding one was "ooh..."; it looks like a lovely, covetable bit of design, but I'm not sure its actually of much practical use unfortunately, as the screens are too small. If it was two 7" screens it would be lovely e-reader. I bet the battery life running two screens will suck as well.
I could break my Sony boycott for that...
Boycotted all things Sony (electronics) since the rootkit fiasco, but that clamshell look schweet
Looks like tablets and phones are all headed towards multi-screen. There are a few under development at present, and I've even seen a phone with three screens, which unfold out to an 8" multi or unified screen using a Jacob's Ladder-style mechanism.
The s2 looks good.
Different virtual keyboards - even zoomable or scrollable for Chinese etc.- when (if) required.
Possibly run two browsers or browser windows, or other apps which keep to their own window.
I'm not sure about the styling - rounded is good, but that looks rather too rounded and I don't think it would be easy to hold.
My other issue isn't with the tech but the company - Sony, like Apple, are rather too prone to be control-freaks and if their kit is going to be anything like the PS3 then I don't want their servers to decide that I can't join the internet today for some reason.
If you look at the S1 and S2, you'll see the Playstation icons... Could these be more of the "Xperia Play" compatible devices?
S2 good for games?
There's a pic from the event, here - http://psp2roundup.blogspot.com/2011/04/sony-unveils-new-playstation-certified.html - that shows off the S2 in game mode with virtual controls on the lower screen - doesn't look bad - if you ignor the small game screen (which presumably can be altered) , but not a touch on the Xperia Play.
Usual el-reg fail
you "conveniently" forget to mention both of these are Playstation certified.
I don't particularly care...
...if it is Sony, then it's not entering my house.
Releasing the first images of a brand new device and then saying 'but the final thing will probably look different'. When did you last see Apple do that?
You would think, over a year after the iPad came out (and longer since rumoured), that Sony would by now have a response at hand that it could announce with complete confidence. It just smacks of 'amateur'.
And this is coming from a long-time admirer (and owner) of Sony products. Sort it out, please.
Not impressed with these 'subject-to-change' offerings unfortunately.
Sony hardware is undeniably near the top of the pile, but still, i'm a bit disappointed. Design-wise, it's very generic - the hinge on the smaller device is glaring.
But I guess the biggest problem is that they've gone the Android route. I'm no Apple fan, but Android cannot compete with iOS' usability and smoothness.
So let's get this right...
Sony probably plan to release a pair of Android tablets (though they might not), which will probably be called the S1 and S2 (though they might not), and will possibly look like the images released (though they might not), and will possibly have some kind of tech specs eventually (though they might not). Which bit of this is hard news again?
That said, as vapour products go, they do look quite nice. But so do a lot of vapour products.
Re: Mistake #1
"Releasing the first images of a brand new device and then saying 'but the final thing will probably look different'. When did you last see Apple do that?"
Er, all the time? We get endless stories about rumours and vaporware of the Ipad, Ipad 2, 3, 4, Islate, next Iphone, Iphone 6, where all sorts of things announced are different to the final release, not just the pictures.
No, the question was when Apple does it. Apple doesn't, all the images of vapourware and so on are speculative images obtained/produced by other groups - Apple doesn't reveal products in this way -- certainly not in the last few years of their iDevices...
well, except Apple doesn't release them...
In other news
Sony trains lawyers on how to sue and threaten people who root their tablets.
And what's up with this Qriocity stuff they attached to this announcement? Seems some sort of cloud music thing.
"In order to stream your music collection, Qriocity places a "digital fingerprint" on each of your songs, finds your tunes in its library of 6 million tracks, and then wirelessly pushes it to the supporting device."
Seems Sony found a new way to install a rootkit in your machines and apparently they expect us to pay £3.99 a month for the privilege.
Psion 3 anyone
Now if that lower screen is touch sensitive, you might get a soft keyboard and finally get back to the much missed Psion 3 clamshell design.
But they also need to get that overall shape and design just right to have the correct feel and hard edges don't do it. So I for one hope this is not the final story.
Where's the market?
I know the likes of Gartner are saying over 100 million of tablets will be sold, but at this rate its likely to be 99 million iPads, 1 million+ Galaxy tabs, 25,000 Xooms, 100,000 PlayBooks and perhaps 25,000 Sonys - no matter what Sony does - no one seems to care.