Sony Tablet S leaks out early at a premium price

Well here's a curious story. We've talked about Sony's pair of Android tablets a few times, most recently during coverage of the recent IFA show. At the show we learned that the Tablet S (possible winner of the Year's Most Boring Product Name award) would ship in September. Since then the details have been firmed up. Both 16 & 32GB models will ship on September 16th, and you can pre-order them now from Sony. The 16GB model is $500 and the 32GB is $600.

I think those prices are too high (so far none of the $500 Android tablets have been a huge hit) and I doubt Sony will see a lot of success until they (inevitably, in my opinion) drop the price, but the truly eager early adopter has a chance to get a Tablet S earlier than those who order from Sony, as long as they're willing to pay for the option.

From where? Why, the Home Shopping Network, of all places. They claim to have the tablet in-stock and shipping now. The catch? A $100 premium on the price. The 16 GB model is $600 (lump sum or four payments of $150 each) via HSN. AndroidCentral reached out to HSN and got a reply confirming both price and availability.

Paying $600 for this tablet is a little nuts, but I suppose HSN figures it can pull in some uninformed customers (they list the MSRP as $686, making $600 look like a deal) before the tablet is widely available through other outlets.

The Sony Tablet S runs on the same Tegra 2 chipset that so many other Honeycomb tablets do. Its big differentiator is the asymmetrical 'folded magazine' design that is supposed to make the tablet easier to hold one-handed. Its 9.4" size is (at this point) unusual as well. It's also the first tablet that's 'Playstation Certified' which might be important for gamers. From the specs, it seems like a solid device and would be a real contender at $400; it seems to me that the market has shown that customers aren't all that willing to spend $500 on an Android tablet.

I have to confess I don't normally pay much attention to HSN. Is this sort of deal something they've offered before? Early access to a gadget for a premium price? If anyone knows, please share in the comments.

Read more of Peter Smith's TechnoFile blog and follow the latest IT news at ITworld. Follow Peter on Twitter at @pasmith. For the latest IT news, analysis and how-tos, follow ITworld on Twitter and Facebook.

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