Sony enters the soon-to-be-crowded Android tablet market

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We probably should have seen this coming when Sony announced their Playstation Suite Android gaming service: Sony has its own Android tablet in the works.

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Code-named the S1, it's a Tegra 2 powered, 9.4" Honeycomb tablet that is (naturally) Playstation Certified. In addition to promoting Playstation Android gaming, it'll have strong Qriocity support. Qriocity is Sony's streaming music service, already available in Euripe and set to launch sometime today in the US (hopefully I'll have a first look for you tomorrow). Engadget has a boatload of further details, but here're the answers to the two questions that always pop up: $599 and September (planned price and launch date). That's a long ways out at this point.

The tablet has an unusual design. One edge is thicker than the other. The idea is that this rounded thick edge will prop the tablet up when it's laying on a surface, and it's supposed to make the tablet more comfortable to hold one handed (it moves the center-of-gravity of the device nearer to the hand).

Now the bad news (other than the distant launch date). Sony is working on a custom version of Android for it. I suppose I should have confidence that Sony will somehow improve the Honeycomb UI, at least for its intended audience, but a custom version of Android generally means slow or non-existent updates of the OS. At the rate that Google has been iterating Android builds, by September Honeycomb will be way out of date!

Peter Smith writes about personal technology for ITworld. Follow him on Twitter @pasmith.

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