Barcelona, Spain – Sony Mobile Communications plans a second-quarter global launch of what it called the industry’s slimmest, lightest 10.1-inch tablet, the water-resistant Xperia Tablet Z.
Although Wi-Fi and 4G LTE versions of the tablet are planned, the company said the U.S. market would get the Wi-Fi version, which will be available in black and priced at $499 for the 16GB version and $599 for the 32GB version.
It will be available in the U.S. in the spring in Sony Stores, including online, and other authorized dealers. A 32GB white version will be available exclusively at Sony Stores, including online. Both versions will feature a MicroSD card slot for an additional 32GB of storage.
Here at the Mobile World Congress, the company also announced that its flagship smartphone, the Xperia Z, will roll out to stores worldwide beginning today, but the company declined to specify a U.S. availability date. The phone was unveiled at January’s International CES.
The Android-based tablet is 6.9mm thick (0.27 inches) and weighs 17.5 ounces. It will launch with Android 4.1 and will be upgraded to 4.2 after the launch.
The tablet is the industry’s first to run on Qualcomm’s Snapdragon S4 Pro asynchronous quad-core 1.5GHz processor with 2GB RAM, but it’s not equipped with the fastest tablet CPU announced to date. Here at the MWC, Samsung announced the 8-inch Galaxy Note 8.0 with quad-core 1.6GHz processor and 2GB of RAM.
However, the Xperia Z smartphone is 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. It can be kept in 3 feet of fresh water for up to 30 minutes when all ports are closed.
The HD display features WUXGA 1,920 by 1,200 resolution and uses Sony’s Mobile Bravia Engine 2 technology, used in Sony TVs, to enhance color reproduction. The tablet also features Front Surround 3D via multiple speakers to deliver surround sound when the tablet is held in either portrait or landscape mode.
Other features include an OmniBalance design that uses rounded edges and smooth reflective surfaces. The 8-megapixel HD rear camera features Sony’s Exmor R for Mobile technology, which is based on the company’s digital-camera technology. A 2-megapixel HD front camera is included.
Both front and rear cameras offer 1080p video capture.
The tablet also features nearfield communication (NFC) and universal IR remote to control Sony home devices, including TVs, as well as home electronics from other manufacturers. It has DLNA-certified Wi-Fi and Mobile High-definition Link (MHL) output.
A new downloadable app, called TV SideView, lets users discover local TV programming via an interactive TV guide and cross-searches Netflix, Video Unlimited, YouTube and other streaming services for additional content.
The tablet is also equipped to access the Sony Entertainment Network audio- and video-streaming services and PlayStation Mobile game downloads