Off the back of its launch of the Xperia Z at the Consumer Electronics Show in January, Sony has chosen Mobile World Congress to launch its partner product, the Xperia Tablet Z. As with its stablemate, the Tablet Z is aimed at the premium market and is an exquisite-looking device that also uses the company’s unique “OmniBalance” design. Also, the Xperia Tablet Z will launch on Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean).
Billed as the world’s thinnest tablet at just 6.9 mm and lightweight at 495g, the Tablet Z sports a 10.1in HD screen and is dust and water resistant. It will appear only as a 16GB device with the ability to add further memory through micro SD. The device will come in black-and-white, and LTE and Wi-Fi-only versions. The device is packed with Qualcomm’s Snapdragon S4 Pro processor and S-Force Front Surround 3D. It features an 8MP rear camera and 2MP HD front camera plus, as with most Sony products, it also comes with Near Field Communication (NFC).
With this latest tablet, Sony brings together both a quality physical aspect and a superior entertainment experience to bear on the product, manifested through its precision engineering and high-end components. Although intended as additional proof of the company’s desire to be as a lead player in the premium Android device market, the new Tablet Z will undoubtedly go head-to-head with Apple’s iPad. Many have tried and failed to compete with the iPad in the premium 10in tablet space and, at first glance, it is difficult to see how Sony expects to achieve this. However, once consumers get to touch and feel the device, notably for its incredible thinness, light weight and gorgeous styling, it should stand out as a serious competitor with tangible points of differentiation.
Having only one 16GB model, albeit with varying options for add-ons and colour, also helps as it will make the choice for the consumer much easier. They will not be bemused by any major upticks in price owing to the addition of cellular connectivity and increments of on-board memory. But pricing will be crucial to the success of the device, as will the channels to market. It will be interesting to see whether Sony positions the Tablet Z closer to its smartphone partner, or more towards its TV business as a companion device. Either way, there is no doubt that, at the right price, the Tablet Z will be a sure-fire hit with consumers in the premium segment, it’s just whether the brand still has a significant presence in this target market.