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Sony taking a leaf out of Microsoft's book with its Android tablet design?

Sony Surface Tablet

Images of a Sony Android tablet have been leaked on German news website Mobiflip. According to the slides, if they're anything to go by, the Sony tablet looks incredibly familiar, almost as if we've seen such a design previously. The Microsoft Surface range of Windows 8 tablets were unveiled earlier this year and sport the same look with a keyboard built into the cover. This Sony tablet, branded as "Xperia Sony Tablet", will sport a number of improvements over the current Sony Tablet S.

There is one noticeable difference between the cover seen on the Surface tablets and on this possible Sony product. The cover -- while sporting a similar keyboard -- appears to wrap around the device, as opposed to clipping on the side. Also, Sony's cover will fold back to form a kickstand, eliminating the requirement for an extra accessory. Think a Microsoft-Apple hybrid.

The Verge reports that pricing for the cover is estimated at $99.99, while the price of the tablet itself is $449.99 for the 16GB model, $549.99 for the 32GB, and $649.99 for 64GB. No release date is supplied, it'll be interesting to see when Sony launches the tablet and how it's received compared to Microsoft Surface, which is set to begin shipping on October 26th.

Microsoft Surface

While pricing of the Surface tablets (both Windows 8 and RT) remain speculative, Microsoft have commented in a SEC filing that,

"Suggested retail pricing will be announced closer to availability and is expected to be competitive with a comparable ARM tablet or Intel Ultrabook-class PC."

It's a massive step Microsoft is taking to provide consumers with a feature rich tablet experience, beyond what's currently offered by Android, iOS and other competitors. With Metro on-board and fully integrated throughout not only Windows, but Office, Xbox, Outlook.com and Windows Phone, here's hoping to more exposure for our beloved mobile platform.

Looking forward to the real Surface? Which colour cover / keyboard would you get?

via: The Verge

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Reader comments

Sony taking a leaf out of Microsoft's book with its Android tablet design?

52 Comments

they are still rich and very big in japan and hongkong apparently, but ya some of the stores in Canada stopped stocking Sony TVs because of the rumored possibility of bankrupcy a couple monthes ago... don't know what to say, Sony has been going downhill for quiet some time now

I seriously doubt Sony copied the Surface's design. Surface's design hasn't been known to exist long enough.  Unless this is just a quick mock-up they did, there is no chance they had time to design this and be ready to launch it later this year.  
Regardless, this is a really nice design, and I'm glad to see it.  Even if it's for Android. 

agreed, barring some seriously intense corporate espionage, I don't see this as a copy of surface.

and though it looks pretty nice, I think I have more faith in MSFT with surface being a quality product over anything SNE puts out these days (ironic, huh?)

Possible they can make something that quick without any guts inside and just a shell for picture purposes. 

u might be surprised at how some of these companies work, I use to work in an OEM company in taiwan a while back, they can can change the design of their product or make changes based on current events in one to two meetings (plus some whipping...)
 
i don't know and don't want to say they copied, but seeing how Playstation move looks so much like wii.... and a few other little things they made lately, they are kind of making me sad (i used to like Sony up until a few years ago)

in my opinion all tablets look the same, as for the keyboard/kick stand its diferent from the surface as the kick stand and the keyboard are conected.
Lets not be like fanatic apple fanboys who claim that everything else is a copy of a apple producit.
exsp:
apple vs samsung gal tab where they said that the samsung background color was stolen from apple....

I'm planning to get a Surface Pro white, blue and type cover as well as whatever new top end Lumia comes out. Its the reason I've been working so hard this summer

They should call it a VAIO, load it with RT, and make a matching WP8.  But Sony is too stupid to do something that obvious.

That's a great idea, and why Japanese won't do it, the have to make "their own" product, and later the Chinese will make a bootlegged version of what you just implied. Asian ingenuity has dropped off the last 5-6 years, and they copy more than invent anymore.

MS really needs to hit the Surface pricing hard and knock it out of the park. Take a loss on it just to get the volume up and devices in peoples hands. Once others see them they will start selling themselves. The pricing has to create a huge splash and be a nobrainer when they compare it to the ipad or Android for what you get.
 Their marketing team better bring their A-game this time and not treat it like they did Windows Phone. They have a 3 prong attack that covers every facet so hope they dont blow it.

I believe this is exactly what they will do. Microsoft has an advantage of being a software manufacturer, and doesn't need to make a profit on hardware (keyboard and mice excluded). They lost money on XboX when it came out and later with the 360, they weren't making profit either. Sony, Nintendo, Apple, HTC, Samsung... They all make hardware and would be silly to design something at a loss of profit. Stock holders would be firing CEO's left and right. Again this is where Microsoft excels in their ability to uniquely sell something at a loss. Windows phone and Xbox were never created to be profitable, and are even underwritten in their books, same will be the case for the surface. I believe we will see RT start at $399-$449 and the pro will be $699-$799, and other OEM's will struggle to compete with price, so they will have to make better hardware and better design at a higher price, kind of a "more for more" philosophy but with the same profit margins. Microsoft has this one in the bag...

Sony needs to lawyer up.  I remember when they used to be design leaders.  I guess they fired all of those people and bought photocopiers to replace them.

I think I prefer this design over the surface's keyboard.  If you want to use the surface as a hand held tablet w/no keyboard, I'm assuming you just put the keyboard aside.  I'm assuming the Sony design can fold backwards, maybe with some sensors that disable the keyboard when it's in the configuration.
That's always been the drawback of the surface keyboard to me.  I'm not a huge fan of detachable accessories that end up being used only part of the time. 

Being used part time only by you? And pretty sure the surface can go both ways.... From what I remember from the conference video... I could be mistaken though

If I understand your complaint with the Surface keyboard, is that you think it cannot fold backwards. However, as was proven at the unveiling of the device, the keyboard on the Surface tablets can fold behind the device, and when it does it deactivates the key presses.

if u watch the presentation again, they said that you can fold it back and there is a gyroscope inside to detect it is folded back to disable the keys, so ure good there

On the surface when you fold the keyboard back, the accelerometer within the keyboard automatically disables it.  I believe that actually fulfills all of your requirements.  #MSFTW!
 

You can fold the Surface keyboard back as well, and it has a minimal footprint. This looks significantly thicker and will also add a bit more bulk. Though its actually not that unique, just look at keyboard folio's from Kensington or stuff like this http://www.amazon.com/Leather-Case-Keyboard-Acer-Iconia/dp/B0058RWJMW/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1343846276&sr=8-2&keywords=acer+w500+keyboard. What will make the difference is the OS and the build. Surface looks to be the better choice in those two areas to me.

Nobody else mentioned it, so I will. The touch cover also has magnetic clips that hold it onto the back of the Surface, so when flipped around the back and out of the way, you don't have to rely on your hands holding it in place.

This is a very nice design. It's a good thing to see companies finally getting tablet design down. I really enjoyed Sony's design with their new line of phones, and their 10" inch Android tablet they released awhile back. However, I just wish it was running Windows 8 or Windows RT. I was really tempted to get an Android tablet, but it's still just a media consumption device, even though I know that's what 90% of everyone that owns a tablet uses it for. I just don't see the point in Android tablets, if you already have a smartphone. Even the iPad offers benefits over their iPhones, but besides the bigger screen, battery and processor, there really isn't anything different on an Android tablet. I have been keen in tablets since the iPads inception, but never seen a tablet that can do real work, yet. I'm still not sold on the Tablet market as it is, because, if Windows Phone 8 allows a better Office experience, and Blue Tooth keyboards, there is no reason beyond very specialized needs to bring a tablet. Even though, I am eyeing a Surface Pro, but trying to resist in an effort to be more practical.

Of topic but I thought it'd be nice to ask this...
What if a lumia tablet is launched in the Nokia world...then what would you guys buy??
A lumia tablet or the Microsoft surface..??

Would depend on what Nokia does with their tablet. Microsoft really laid it down by presenting a nice little keyboard cover - if Nokia can offer something comprehensive like that, then it'll boil down to which one soothes the eye more.

Hard to say. Its hard to top the type of hardware Microsoft introduced. I can't see Nokia doing it better, meaning they'd most likely just release a standard tablet with no cool smart over, but their advantage is having Pureview tech. I can see a full tablet using that to capture something then bust out the full Photoshop to do some editing with an active digitizer stylus, then uploading it to wherever.

What if... Just humor me a bit... But what if... The SURFACE IS made by NOKIA? Thatd be badass... jejeje

I still like Sony but they've committed the sin of branching out into too many product lines. They make $300 headphones and cheap $15 ones. They'll never do it, but perhaps it's time to sell off parts of their business.

It doesn't matter who copied who, but more who has the patents. I don't think MS has a design patent, but they might have one for the tech that is being used for those things.

I love Sony products...but if Microsoft is releasing their own tablet,then am definitely getting that...surface all the way...and wp8 as well...

WTF !! SONY??? U MAKE WINDOWS COMPUTERS NOT BITCHASS ANDROID BULL SHIT NO WONDER PLAYSTATION AINT MAKIN MONEY ANY MORE AND UR TVS ARNT SELLING UR DRIVING YOURSELF INTO THE GROUND!

Microsoft really is the new Apple (and Apple the old Microsoft). Being imitated just means you're ahead of the curve.

Am I the only one who can't wait to get the RT version? I have a desktop PC, so I think I won't need the Pro.
It has to be blue by the way.

Want to see the colors up close and in person. But yes, an RT will compliment my desktop and WP (and XBox) just fine. Totally connected.

as if it not enough with two copiers another one lost the soul of creativity and decided to join Copiers team
 

I love that a Sony android tablet article turned into a surface article halfway through. Don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining in the least, it's just funny that this shows how little relevance Sony has anymore. Kind of sad how their path turned out, they make some beautiful designs.