Sony starts fightback against Apple with launch of tablets

Steve Dinneen
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SONY yesterday launched its first tablet computers, with the Japanese firm desperate to recapture the initiative from Apple’s all conquering iPad.

The devices have a wider significance for Sony, which has slipped from its pedestal as the world’s most popular electronics manufacturer to be widely seen as an also-ran, chasing the tail of rivals such as Samsung and Apple.

The tablets, codenamed the S1 and S2, will try to lure customers of its last smash-hit products, the PlayStation franchise, by allowing them to sync games on the device.

Both tablets will be wi-fi and 4G compatible. The S1 has a 9.4-inch display and a curved design that Sony says makes it easier to hold for long periods of time.

The S2 has two 5.5-inch displays in a clamshell design, which Suzuki showed off by producing one from his jacket pocket during the launch.

The devices will run a tweaked version of Google’s Android operating system, which will allow users to “throw” media content onto Sony TVs and stereo systems.

Non-Apple devices have so-far failed to seriously dent the iPad but research firm Gartner suggests sales of tablets will quadruple to about 294m between 2011 and 2015, with almost half of those Android-based.