Computer Image Gallery
Computer Image Gallery

Sony's upcoming S1 (left) and S2 tablets, slated for release in September 2011.

Image courtesy of Sony. Design and specifications are subject to change without notice.

In the 14 months after the iPad's April 2010 launch, Apple sold 25 million of its new tablets [source: Hughes]. Although the iPad was the first to enter the race, a number of competitors are giving it a run for its money -- and before 2011 comes to a close, Japan-based Sony will be one of them. The company plans to release two tablet models, both of which are known only by their internal code names: S1 and S2.

The slate-style S1 will feature a 9.4-inch (23.9-centimeter) screen that aims to hit a middle ground between the iPad's 9.7-inch (24.6-centimeter) screen and the HTC Flyer's 7-inch (17.8-centimeter) screen. Unlike its competitors, the Sony S1 will deviate from the rectangle mold by being more rounded and slightly thicker on one end. This will result in a profile that looks a bit like an exclamation mark [source: Cowley].

The S2 will have a dual-screen design. It will be hinged in the middle and, when flipped open, reveal two 5.5-inch (14-centimeter) screens. The screens are designed to be used together as one large screen, or the bottom screen can be used as a touch-activated keyboard in conjunction with the top screen. When closed, the S2's rounded, compact design is reminiscent of an eyeglasses case. As of August 2011, Sony had not released the S2's exact dimensions, but early reviewers say it's small enough to fit in a pocket [source: Nusca].

Both the S1 and S2 are slated to have WiFi and 3G/4G cellular capabilities, and it's been rumored that AT&T will act as the cellular service provider for both tablets in the U.S [source: Ricker, Sony].

The models also will differ when it comes to built-in camera and video function. The S1 will have two cameras for still photographs and video; one will be on the front and the other will be on the back of the device. The dual-screen S2 will have only one camera positioned on the back of the device that can toggle between video and still photography.

Sony hasn't released information on how much the tablets will cost. However, if the company's pricing strategy follows the crowd, it's estimated that a no-frills Sony tablet will cost about $500, like most of its competitors.

Although Sony's designs will differentiate their tablets from competitors, the Sony tablets weren't really designed to beat out the iPad. Find out why on the next page.