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Sony Mobile Prepares For Xperia Tablet Z Launch

San Diego — Availability of Sony’s 10.1-inch water-resistant Xperia Tablet Z is inching closer. 4/30/2013 12:14:00 PM Eastern

 San Diego — Availability of Sony’s 10.1-inch water-resistant Xperia Tablet Z is inching closer.

Sony Mobile Communications has begun taking preorders for the $499 16GB version and the $599 32GB version through its web store at Sony.com/Tablet. The estimated ship date for preorders is May 24.

The company didn’t say when the tablets would be available through retailers.

Both versions on the site are equipped with Wi-Fi but not with cellular, and the 32GB model is available in black and white. In the U.S., the white version will be available exclusively though the site and through Sony Stores. The 16GB model will be available only in black in the U.S.

 Consumers who pre-order the white 32GB model through May 24 get a free charging cradle that normally sells for $45.

The Android 4.1 tablets, unveiled during International CES and at the Mobile World Congress earlier this year, are promoted as the world’s thinnest 10.1-inch tablets at 6.9mm (0.27 inches), and they weigh 17.5 ounces.  They’re also promoted as offering the highest level of water resistance (IP55 and IP57) ever delivered in a tablet to make it immune to accidental spills and splashes. They can be kept under 1 meter of fresh water for up to 30 minutes when all ports are closed.

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