Sony unveils tablets to rival the iPad

Sony's S1 and S2 tablets

Sony is planning an Android-based tablet computer with a touch panel similar to Apple’s iPad, scheduled for release later this year, that the Japanese manufacturer promises will make the best of its gadgetry and entertainment strengths.

The product—code-named S1, and shown April 26 in Tokyo—will come with a 9.4-inch display for enjoying online content, such as movies, music, video games, and electronic books, and for online connections, including eMail and social networking. It will be compatible with both 3G and 4G networks.

Sony, which boasts electronics as well as entertainment divisions, also showed the S2, a smaller mobile device with two 5.5-inch displays that can be folded like a book.

The company did not divulge prices. Sony Corp. Senior Vice President Kunimasa Suzuki said the products would go on sale worldwide around September. Both run Google’s Android 3.0 operating system, nicknamed “Honeycomb.”

More news about tablets for education:

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New devices allow for mobile wireless broadband

Electronics show to bring fiercer competition to iPad

The announcement of Sony’s key net-linking offerings comes as it tries to fix the outage of its PlayStation Network, which offers games and music online.

It is unclear when that network will start running again. Sony has blamed the problem on an “external intrusion” and has acknowledged it would have to rebuild its system to add security measures and strengthen its infrastructure.

Suzuki said both of the latest tablets feature Sony’s “saku saku,” or nifty, technology that allows for smooth and quick access to online content and for getting browsers working almost instantly after a touch.

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