If the latest rumor from Asia is correct, Sony is preparing to go against the grain for tablets and introduce a very high-end device.
The trends in tablets have been cheaper and smaller. With so many competitors, Apple suffered its first real loss of momentum in 2014, thanks to severe price competition bringing some tablets dropping below $100. Just remember, you get what you pay for.
The second trend is for smaller devices. For a while, the energy seemed in favor of 7-inch devices, but with the popularity of phablets like iPhone 6 Plus and the Galaxy Note, the preferred size is between an eight and ten inch screen.
That's why this rumor about Sony is a bit of a head scratcher, but then again, Sony has its own issues. Citing sources from the related supply chain, DigiTimes says that Sony will being mass production of a large, high end tablet for launch in the first half of 2015.
The tablet will have a 12.9-inch screen and 4k, ultra-high definition resolution of 3,840 by 2400 pixels. It will be powered by a Qualcomm processor, have a 8-megapixel camera, and be just 8.6mm thick. The rumored manufacturer is Pegatron Technology, which also manufacturers the Apple iPad and Microsoft Surface tablets. The price would be around $1,000.
The one thing not clarified is the OS. Sony has been an Android customer, but it has also dabbled in Windows for its smartphones. Right now, IDC numbers show Surface 3 actually has the best momentum among tablets these days, although its overall market share is still a pittance.
Sony is a company in deep trouble. Its TV division alone has lost money for 10 years straight to the tune of $8 billion total, unthinkable two decades ago when Trinitrons dominated. It's not that they are bad. They are beautiful TVs. But Samsung and LG came along with much cheaper and only a little lower quality TVs and ate Sony's lunch. Now it seems prepared to repeat that mistake in tablets.
A 4k resolution would have marginal benefit because there isn't that much content yet, and it would be a massive bandwidth hog on a Wi-Fi network.
Now it could be Sony is taking the Ferrari model instead of the Camry model; it would rather sell fewer high-end, high margin devices than a massive amount of commodity hardware. Actually, with this device it will have no choice. I'm just curious who its target market/audience will be.