Sony has finally jumped into the tablet market by announcing two models - Tablet S and Tablet P - and is set to rival Apple, whose iPad is ruling the roost.

Both tablets would be running on the Android Honeycomb operating system, with Tablet S sporting a 9.4-inch screen and Tablet P having two foldable screens of 5.5-inch each.

Sony's entry in to the tablet market may create jitters for Apple, whose iPad 2 is on the verge of refresh but still dominating the market for more than a year. The Japanese consumer electronics giant has tried to be different in its tablet attempt by putting a foldable screen in its Tablet P that weighs less than a pound.

In addition, both devices are compatible with Media Remote, which allows users to control Sony devices including BRAVIA through Wi-Fi.

Personal photos and video content can be streamed from Sony Tablet to DLNA-compatible TV sets and other devices. Music can also be streamed from the tablet to wireless speakers.

The Sony Tablet S, which weighs only 1.33 pounds, includes infrared technology, and can be used as a fully customizable remote control for multiple home devices including television, Blu-ray Disc player and home theatre set-up.

Both models are powered by a 1.2GHz Nvidia Tegra 2 chip and feature a 0.3MP front and 5MP rear facing cameras for still and video image capture.

Wi-Fi only models are equipped with Android 3.1 and would be upgradable to Android 3.2. Wi-Fi/3G models are equipped with Android 3.2.

The Tablet S, which can be pre-ordered now and will be in stores in September, costs $499 for 16GB model and $599 for 32GB model.  

Sony did not reveal pricing information for Tablet P, which would be available in November.

Uphill Task For Sony

But Sony faces an uphill battle to make a mark in the tablet market as it is not alone and entered late in the battlefield. Apple iPad would be its key rival, along with Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1.

Initial reviews are mixed for Tablet S. Critics are hailing the design, but complaining that the device has more plastic feel to it. In addition, Sony has priced the tablet in line with iPad and this may leave few takers for the device.  

A Gizmodo review says the screen got seriously scratched during a totally routine photo shoot.

The review concluded: It's the first Android tablet to feel like it was designed. But whoever built it couldn't quite live up to the dreams of its designers, to the dream of Sony. It's definitely too expensive given its build-quality (or lack thereof), but once it comes down in price, it'll definitely be worth checking out.

Engadget had this to say: ... looking at the hardware alone, it's hard to not smile at the Sony Tablet S. In a world of interchangeable rectangular slabs of glass (and patent litigation to match) it's genuinely pleasing to see something so different. The problem is, it's just different -- not necessarily better.

Meanwhile, Honeycomb still lags behind iOS for tablet-specific apps. Sony, however, has begun a new site, called Select App, to guide new users toward key software, split across various categories.

Following is the comparison of Sony Tablets with iPad 2 and Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1: 

 Specifications

Sony Tablet S

Sony Tablet P

Galaxy Tab 10.1

 iPad 2

  

 

  

OS

Android Honeycomb

Android Honeycomb

Android Honeycomb

iOS 4

Processor

NVIDIA Tegra 2 Mobile Processor 1GHz

NVIDIA Tegra 2 Mobile Processor 1GHz

1Ghz dual-core Nvidia Tegra 2 with ARM Cortex 9 CPUs & GeForce GPU

1Ghz dual-core Apple A5

Memory

1GB RAM; 16/32GB

1GB RAM; 16/32GB

1GB RAM; 16GB flash storage

500MB RAM; 16/32/64GB flash storage

Display

9.4-inches; WXGA (1280 x 800) TFT color LCD Resolution

5.5-inches x2 screens;

Ultra Wide VGA (1024x480)

10.1-inches; 1280×800 resolution

9.7-inches; 1024×768 resolution

Camera

Front: 0.3MP

Rear: 5MP

Front: 0.3MP

Rear: 5MP

Front 2MP; Rear 3MP with 1080p recording

Front 0.3MP; Rear 0.7MP (720p)

Connectivity

Wi-Fi: 802.11b/g/n; Bluetooth® 2.1 + EDR standard

Wi-Fi: 802.11b/g/n; Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR standard

Wifi (802.11a/b/g/n; Bluetooth 2.1

Wifi (802.11a/b/g/n; Bluetooth 2.1

Location

3-Axis Accelerometer, Gyrosensor , Digital Compass, Ambient Light Sensor

3-Axis Accelerometer, Gyrosensor , Digital Compass, Ambient Light Sensor

GPS, Three-axis gyro sensor; Touch-sensitive controls; Proximity sensor for auto turn-off

GPS, Three-axis gyro sensor

Ports

USB 2.0 Micro-AB connector (host/client) x1, Headphone (Stereo, mini jack) x1 (also serves as mono mic jack)

USB 2.0 Micro-B connector x1, Headphone (Stereo, mini jack) x1 (also serves as mono mic jack)

Proprietary dock port (charging, usb, hdmi); 3.5mm audio in/out

Proprietary dock port (USB, sound, video, power); 3.5mm audio in/out

Battery

Approx. 430 hours (Standby), Approx. 31 hours (playing music), Approx. 6 hours (playing video), Approx. 6.2hours (web browsing via Wi-Fi)

Approx. 120 hours (Standby), Approx. 16.8 hours (playing music), Approx. 6.5 hours (playing video), Approx. 6.1 hours (web browsing via Wi-Fi), Approx. 4.6 hours (web browsing via 3G)

7000mAH Battery

6930mAH Battery

Dimension

241.2mm x 10.1mm (thickest point: 20.6mm?x 174.3 mm

When opened : Approx. 180mm x 14mm x 158mm

When closed : Approx. 180mm x 26mm x 79mm

246.2 x 170.4 x 10.9 mm

241.2 x 185.7 x 8.8 mm

Weight

1.31 pounds

0.82 pounds

1.24 pounds

1.33 pounds