So, today was pretty exciting news for Sony fans: two Sony tablets were announced, and one of them is a dual screen little beast that will bear the PlayStation brand.
(For a short video of the hardware in action, click over here)
Aside from the fact that it is a very attractive little bit of kit, I can't help but wonder if this is the real 'happy balance' that consumers will look for in handhelds in the future.
Consider this: the iPad gets a fair share of criticism (unjustified, but criticism nonetheless) for not offering hardcore gamers enough meat, that gaming is a secondary concern for the device. Of greater concern for me personally is, as streamlined and elegant as the iPad is, it's still slightly too large for true portability. It's good for those longer trips, but not the five minute dashes. Sony's new tablet solves that issue.
Meanwhile, dedicated handhelds, such as the Sony PSP and Nintendo 3DS, while popular, may well fall out of favour in the mid to long term. Why would a typical adult want to carry around a dedicated gaming device, if there's enough on offer on a device that can perform other functions?
Nintendo did a good job in encouraging people to take the 3DS around with them with the StreetPass feature, but I know from my own personal usage habits that, aside from carrying it around, I don't use the device until I get home. As light as it is, it is still dead weight in my carry case. If it was capable of even just basic Android applications, its stock would rise dramatically for me, but that's not likely to happen - especially with no 3G capabilities.
Which brings me to the Sony Tablet S2. As an Android-based device, it will be a product that people can use for basic work tasks on the go. With the dual-screened format, it will be light and easy to carry about. With the backing of the PlayStation brand, there will be "real" games to play on it. And on top of that, it's the perfect form factor for reading books and watching movies on the go.
It looks like Sony has come up with a very versatile device here that melds the formula that make the iPad a success, with greater gaming and entertainment credentials into a middle ground that has genuine potential. While we're still interested in seeing the raw horsepower of the NGP, and playing games in 3D on the Nintendo 3DS, we can't help but think it is this new tablet that will be our default go-to device.
What do you think? Are you keen to find out more about this dual screen tablet?