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Sony may be releasing VAIO hybrid tablet

Posted by bryanh on Mar 7, 2012, Categories: Mobile News


Sony is rumored to be releasing a hybrid tablet/notebook called the VAIO U with a full keyboard, reminiscent of the VAIO UX micro-PC. Image from Wikimedia Commons.

Yes, yes, Apple has a new iPad out, just like last year. There’s another tablet that may be worth getting excited about from Sony with a feature that no mobile device from Apple has yet to have, namely a keyboard.

Sometimes they come back

Contrary to popular belief, Apple didn’t invent the tablet PC. There were plenty of portable PCs several years before the iPhone was released, never mind the iPad, though they were incredibly expensive. One of them, the Sony VAIO UX series, had a touchscreen that was 4.5 inches across diagonally, Wi-Fi connectivity, front and rear cameras and, according to the 2006 review on CNET, also had a slide-out QWERTY keyboard, just like a lot of modern smartphones. The device was a bit expensive, at $1,800 for North America, but it did just about everything the modern tablet does. The device even was used by Christian Bale in the movie “Terminator: Salvation.” Unfortunately, the device was too expensive and its capabilities were too limited to keep it viable, and it disappeared. However, it appears something like it may be in the works, according to Engadget.

Yes, Virginia, there is a keyboard

According to Engadget, Sony showed off a hybrid tablet/notebook at the Consumer Electronics Show this year, which featured a thin keyboard that slid out from the back, propping the screen up kind of like a notebook. It was only a concept model called, imaginatively, the Hybrid; it hadn’t been confirmed for production. However, a visual ad, like the kind that would go in a magazine, has been leaked, showing the hybrid tablet/notebook, with the text describing it as the VAIO U series, which means that the UX’s evolutionary descendant may be headed for stores in the near future.

Android out the Windows

The concept version of the tablet, according to PocketNow, the blog that leaked the ad, ran on Windows 7. The VAIO UX ran on Windows XP, which means that there it is a distinct possibility that the VAIO U, provided it doesn’t get canceled, is going to run on Windows 8. Aside from that, some other features, according to CNET, are a front-facing camera, a detachable stylus on the bottom edge of the keyboard and a side USB port. The concept model also, according to PocketNow, had an 11-inch screen, which makes it larger than many other tablets, including the iPad. Of course, the hitch is going to be whether or not it’s priced to compete with other tablets or whether the keyboard will give it the advantage.

[Even the most talented iPhone application development team can’t add hardware. That said, they can do amazing work with applications.]







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