Sony joins tablet war, aims to grab market share

Technology giant Sony Corporation has joined the race for tablet supremacy by launching on Tuesday its first ever tablet computers in a bid take a sizable share of the burgeoning tablet market.

Running on Google’s Anroid 3.0 operating system, the Sony gadgets seek to make a fast run on the tablet race currently dominated by Apple, which has recently released a newer version of its popular iPad.

Code-named S1 and S2, Sony’s black and glossy devices will be the first tablets to integrate PlayStation games, according to Kunimasa Suzuki, deputy president of the consumer products and services group at Tuesday’s media launch.

Sony is capitalizing on the S1’s interface to first generation PlayStation games and its other networked content to make the newly launched gadget stand out from the rest of tablets flooding the market. Both WiFi and 3G/4G capable, S1 has a 9.4-inch display and a curved design that Sony said makes it easier to hold for long periods of time, while the S2 gadget has two 5.5-inch displays in a clamshell design.

Sony, which was once a symbol of Japan’s high-tech dominance, has been struggling to develop latest slew of devices and keep up with the gadgets war currently played up by Apple and Samsung Electronics. Analysts said it may be a while before a strong contender can make a dent on the tablet market besides Apple.

“Expectations are low that any company can present a credible challenge to Apple,” said Jay Defibaugh, director of equity research at MF Global in Tokyo.

Some technology experts also doused a cold water on Sony’s determined bid to chase Apple, noting that the Japanese maker may need a lot of catching up do besides banking on its gaming and entertainment advantage.

“Being late into the tablet market is not necessarily a bad thing,” said Geoff Blaber, head of mobile device software research at British IT analysis firm CCS Insight. He added that if certain manufacturers are taking their time to come to market with something genuinely differentiated from the iPad, such as move can be good for them in the long run.

Other than iPad, other leading players in the tablet market include Samsung’s Galaxy Tab, along with RIM’s PlayBook, and those from Motorola, LG Electronics and HTC which are all running Android.