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8/29/2012
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Sony Debuts Xperia S Android Tablet

Sony unveiled a new Android-based tablet and smartphones at IFA Wednesday. Check out the Xperia S and its siblings.

Sony unleashed a wave of new mobile products during its press conference at the IFA event in Berlin Wednesday. The gadgets, including tablets and smartphones, are all part of Sony's efforts to unify its brand and broaden its range of devices.

The first new product introduced by Sony, the Xperia S tablet, is an improvement to last year's model, with considerably stronger specs. This splash-proof slate offers a 9.4-inch display with 1280 x 800 pixel resolution. That's not quite up to snuff with some of the competing tablets, but it's not bad, either. The panel also has what Sony calls "OptiContrast with low-friction coating." Hopefully that means it will offer deep blacks and white whites.

The Xperia S is powered by a 1.4GHz quad-core Nvidia Tegra 3 processor and runs Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich. For a brand new device, it's a shame it won't ship with Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, but it is expected to receive that update later. There's an 8-megapixel camera on the back and a 1-megapixel camera on the front.

[ Will the iPhone 5 offer near-field communications? Read iPhone 5's 'One More Thing': NFC?. ]

The Xperia S will have a range of accessories, perhaps the most important of which is a case that doubles as a Bluetooth keyboard. The Xperia Tablet S will go on sale in the U.S. on September 7 for $399 (16GB), $499 (32GB), and $599 (64GB).

Looking at Sony's new smartphones, the Xperia T, V, and J span from flagship to entry-level.

The Xperia T is the most impressive of the three new smartphones. It comes with a 4.6-inch display, 13-megapixel camera, 1.5GHz, dual-core processor, near-field communications, 1080p HD video capture, HDMI, and compatibility with Sony's PlayStation apps.

The Xperia V shares most features with the T. It adds LTE 4G and water resistance, but steps the display down to 4.3 inches. Both the T and the V will ship with Android 4.0.4, but Sony is promising Android 4.1 Jelly Bean down the line.

One of the neatest features offered by these two devices will be what Sony calls One Touch. Using NFC, consumers will be able to "touch one to another to establish a wireless connection without a cumbersome pairing process." Sony says that NFC-based pairing will work with other Sony hardware, such as headphones or speakers.

The Xperia J dials everything back a bit. It has a 4-inch display and a 5-megapixel camera.

Release timing for the smartphones varies, but U.S. carriers haven't announced whether or not they will sell any of these phones. Historically, AT&T has had a good relationship with Sony.

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