By Alexandra Burlacu | Feb 25, 2013 01:37 PM EST
Sony confirmed U.S. and global launch plans for its new Xperia Tablet Z, the 10.1-inch Android slate it unveils in Japan next month.
The tablet will become available sometime during the second quarter of this year and in the U.S. it will have a starting price of $499. The slate packs a powerful Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro quad-core processor and, just like its namesake smartphone sibling, it is immune to spills and splashes due to its IP55/IP57 water resistance.
While Samsung is trying to set its Galaxy Note 8.0 Android tablet apart with its pen and software, Sony is betting on portability to make a difference. The company unveiled the Xperia Tablet Z at the Mobile World Congress (MWC) trade show in Barcelona as the thinnest and lightest tablet currently available on the market, at least in its 10-inch class.
The Xperia Tablet Z weighs in at just 1.09 pounds, and is .27-inch thick. By comparison, the 9.7-inch iPad is .37-inch thick and weighs 1.44 pounds. Meanwhile, the minimalist design of the Xperia Tablet Z blends in well with its super-portability.
The slate will be available in both Wi-Fi and Wi-Fi/LTE versions, and will be offered in white and black finishes. The Sony Xperia Tablet Z will also come in three memory options. In the U.S., the 16GB model will sport a $499 price tag, while the price for the 32GB version will go up to $599. Sony will also offer a 64GB model.
The Sony Xperia Tablet Z sports a 10.1-inch WUXGA display with the same Mobile BRAVIA Engine 2 image-processing technology the Xperia Z phone uses. The tablet also packs an 8-megapixel camera with Exmor R for mobile processing, as well as a 2-megapixel front camera for video chats. In terms of audio, the slate sports stereo speakers with so-called "speaker halls" that will allegedly deliver extra resonance.
When it comes to operating system, the Sony Xperia Tablet Z currently runs on Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, but an update to version 4.2 is in the pipeline. Sony has also added a Battery STAMINA mode to its slate. With this mode, the user has to grant explicit permission for data supply to apps while the screen is turned off. Sony will cut off data supply to any apps not given such specific approval.
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