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Tablet diversity on show in Berlin
All technology eyes are on Germany in the second half of this week as the IFA tech expo opens in Berlin. Featuring gadgetry from across a wide spectrum including TVs, computers, smartphones, and tablets, the expo is the focus for companies to lift the lid on some of the products we can expect to hit shelves in the coming year.
Unsurprisingly several of the new gadgets were tablet PCs, with a number of technology firms showcasing the latest models.
First up, Sony has announced two new tablets at the event: the Tablet P and Tablet S.
Featuring a 9.4 inch screen and powered by an Nvidia Tegra 2 dual core processor, the ‘S’ is supported with version 3.1 “Honeycomb” Android operating system, and includes a raft connectivity including micro-USB, infrared, and front and rear-facing cameras. According to Sony, the ‘S’ optimised for “rich media” and has a “unique asymmetric design” it claims conveys “a sense of lightness for hours of comfortable use”.
While the ‘S’ remains very much in the traditional tablet form, the Tablet P takes a different approach. Mirroring the likes of Nintendo’s DS handheld portable gaming platform, the ‘P’ is dual screened with a folding design. Like the ‘S’, the Tablet P is powered by a Tegra 2 processor and Android 3.1.
The Sony Tablet P and 3G versions of the Tablet S are scheduled to arrive in the UK this November, while the Wi-Fi only version of the ‘S’ will launch in September.
Although the company remains pitched in a patent battle with Apple, Samsung continues to plough ahead with the unveiling of two new devices at the show: The Galaxy Tab 7.7 and the Galaxy Note.
Powered by a 1.4GHz dual-core processor, the Android 3.2 “Honeycomb” device has a 7.7 inch Super AMOLED display, as well as front and rear-facing cameras, and will comb with a number of storage memory options. The device will also support a number of connectivity options, including Wi-Fi, HSPA+ mobile broadband, and Bluetooth.
Like the Sony Tablet P, the Galaxy Note is trying to differentiate itself from the rest of the tablet competition. With a touch screen of just 5.3 inches the device is perhaps best described as a digital notebook, and will include a ‘S pen’ enabling users to scribble notes on the go. Powered by Android 2.3 Gingerbread, the Galaxy Note features front and rear-facing cameras, and has the brunt force of a 1.4GHz dual core processor at its heart.
While Samsung will of course be pitching the Galaxy Note as a ‘third way’ between its smartphones and full-sized tablets, it is not the first tech firm to release a fence-straddling device. In 2010, PC giant Dell launched the similarly-sized Dell Streak, which was offered in the UK by mobile operator O2.
Originally powered by version 1.6 of Google’s Android operating system (codenamed “Donut”) the Streak was upgraded to version 2.2 towards the end of 2010. A seven inch form factor was launched in the UK this spring for under £300, while a 10 inch version is currently available in China only.
The Sony Tablet P and Samsung Galaxy Note are just two of the latest tablets with a twist unveiled this summer. At the start of August, Taiwanese technology firm Asus launched the Eee Pad Slider – a tablet/netbook hybrid powered by a Tegra 2 dual core processor loaded with Android Honeycomb 3.1.