An Experience with the Sony Tablet P in Las Vegas

Pepcom hosts a media-only show called Digital Experience on the eve before the first official day of CES. You may not see some of the highest profile products on display at Digital Experience but you might come across items that at least catch your eye.

I took a quick minute at the Sony table to check out their Tablet P. It is a meaty-feeling folding tablet device that weighs just shy of one pound (0.82 pounds actually).

Sony Tablet P

It features two 5.5-inch touchscreen displays, runs on the Android OS with access to apps from the Android Marketplace, front- and rear-facing cameras, WiFi connectivity, and is 4G-capable. It functions as a media player with video, music, and game content available from Sony. The Tablet P can also share pictures, videos, and music with compatible connected devices such as televisions and PCs.

The device is pre-loaded with “Crash Bandicoot” (uncertain if it is the 1996 game or later in the series). Other PSone and PSP games can be downloaded.

The Tablet P is also an e-reader with access to magazines, comics, and novels from Sony’s Reader Store. I did not see how the dual screens function in this role though I imagine it is a different experience compared with single screen e-readers.

Because the device folds in half, you lose that wide-open viewing field of single screen tablets. The separation between the dual screens is hard to miss and may not be for everyone. However, the ability to close the tablet and stow it away offers some versatility when it comes to portability. The Tablet P is on the bulky side when closed and will show a noticeable bulge when stuffed into the inside pocket of a jacket. Then again most other tablets are impossible to fit inside a jacket pocket.

The Tablet P is a novel design but it is hard to say the public has been clamoring for a folding tablet, regardless of its portability. Even if the performance of the device is stellar, the form factor may take some getting used to for some users.

Pricing and availability for the Tablet P have yet to be announced.

Borders end not a triumph of e-books over print

It is never fun to hear that a business that you have been a patron of is shutting its doors. Borders, a chain of stores where bibliophiles sip on java while turning the pages of meaty doorstopper novels, is seeking approval in bankruptcy court to liquidate. The equation behind its demise is more complicated than e-publishing = death to print but changes in the publishing industry surely played a role.

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Waiting for Apple to share its secrets

The world is anxiously waiting for Steve Jobs to reveal one of the worst kept secrets in consumer electronics. Apple Inc. will host a special invite-only unveiling on Wednesday and most soothsayers expect Jobs to show off a new tablet computer and perhaps the latest iPhone model.

If Apple does unleash said gadgets, the odds are it will push rivals yet again to catch up. From a macro-perspective, Apple does not try to be the absolute first with features and gadgetry. They just try to do it better.

Some expect Apple’s tablet to redefine this class of devices. The anticipated tablet has been described by purported insides as comparable to an e-reader in form but with far more functions and access to apps than found in devices on the market.

After the curtain rises, it will be time to examine the ripples spreading through the market.