While the details are slim at best, Japan's The Nikkei newspaper reports that Sony plans to launch a tablet by the end of the summer (more than likely Q3 2011). Citing Sony Chief Executive Officer Howard Stringer, it will arrive in the U.S. market first sporting Google's new Android 3.0 "Honeycomb" operating system.
The Nikkei's report has since been deleted as of this writing.
Japanese news tech site AV watch followed up Nikkei's original post with an official statement from a Sony spokesperson. As it stands now, the Sony tablet will arrive "by year-end" and that further details will be released "sometime later."
The news follows previous reports that Sony plans to release a PlayStation-certified tablet sometime this year. Codenamed "S1," the device will supposedly sport a 9.4-inch touchscreen (1280 x 800), Nvidia's Tegra 2, a customized Honeycomb interface (with the XMB perhaps?), and a heavy focus on Qriocity, the company's non-PSN video, music, ebooks and games service.
Previous reports also indicated that the tablet will come packed with both rear and front-mounted cameras, a USB-A port, a built-in IR port, and the PlayStation Suit for purchasing PSOne games. Unnamed sources have already stated that Sony is looking to launch the tablet this September in time for back-to-school sales, and is now seemingly verified by Stringer's pulled response.
But given the launch of Apple's iPad 2 and Motorola XOOM's tablet-- not to mention a plethora of other offerings hitting store shelves between now and Q4 2011-- Sony may be leaning more towards the "by year-end" date to fine-tune the tablet's services and features, a possible buffer for extra tweaking or unexpected delays in production.
While we expect to see the NGP make an appearance at E3 2011 in June, there's a good chance the tablet will rear its head too, showing off its gaming capabilities.There's no doubt that Sony has something cooking in the PlayStation oven that will connect the Xperia PLAY, NGP, PS3 and PlayStation tablet the same way Microsoft is tying together Windows Phone 7, the Xbox 360 and PC.