Sony tablets launched at IFA 2011: Hands-on pics

Sony tablets launch at IFA, both landing before end of year.

Sony's IFA opening press conference is over, and crikey what a haul. We've seen a new Xperia Arc handset, a new Walkman, a new Sony eReader and two (count 'em, two!) new cameras - more on those here. But the stars of the Sony conference were the two Sony tablets - the tentatively-named Tablet P and the Tablet S.

Click here to launch our gallery of Sony tablet hands-on pictures

And if ever we'd complained of a certain samey-ness to be found in today's tablet market (it's thin and has a black bezel, you say?), we could never level such a charge at Sony's offerings. First up is the Tablet P, which comes with two touchscreens and is shaped like an elongated clam; and then there's the Tablet S, which rocks a funky, folded-over shell that Sony say make it more like a magazine and more stable in the hand.

The magazine-like build of the Tablet S was also explained as giving a better viewing angle when the tablet is placed on a surface. It's perhaps not as massive a leap forward as Sony would have us believe (we were getting on just fine putting our tablets in adjustable cases), but it certainly ain't bland.

The clamshell tablet is the more interesting, to our minds. The Tablet P's dual touchscreen displays can be used in the classic screen-and-keyboard setup you'd find on a laptop, or as one big screen (albeit with a hinge in the middle). Even cooler, the Tablet P can be picked up sideways and read like a book, with pages of an ebook displayed on each screen - a feature that will come in handy, what with Sony also announcing that they'll be launching their own Amazon-esque ebook store with some 100,000 digital titles available to download.

Other features of the tablets include an updated Qriocity music and video service (Music Unlimited and Video Unlimited, respectively), and the announcement that both will be PlayStation certified. What does this mean? It means that the Tablets P and S will be the first in the world that let you play classic PSOne titles on a tablet. The tablets will also be inter-connected with other Sony devices, meaning you can stream video files to networked Sony TVs, or play music from the tablets on Sony music systems.

Both tablets will be out before the end of the year, with the Tablet P (that's the clamshell one) landing in November this year in Europe priced €599, and the cheaper Tablet S arriving in Europe at the end of September, priced at €479.

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