Robert Triggs / Android Authority
There was a time when Sony sold reasonably decent Android tablets. The premium line of Xperia Z tablets offered very high-end specs, but they were very expensive, as expected from Sony. This family offered everything you’d expect from a traditional Android tablet, but ended in 2014 after just two years on the market.
Sony’s tablet ambitions haven’t always been so conventional. Before the Xperia Z tablet family went a bit more off-the-wall with the Sony Tablet P in 2011, which featured two displays and a central hinge, the design was more reminiscent of a dual-screen. The Nintendo DS is a gaming handheld that was released in 2004. Sony has been experimenting with this form factor for several years now with devices like the Sony VP compact “lifestyle PC” running Windows XP. Needless to say, the idea didn’t quite work out.
See also: The best Android tablets you can spend your money on.
Meet the Sony Tablet P.
Sony Tablet P
Sony’s clamshell tablet was almost the opposite of a commercial success. Looking back, I wonder what Sony’s engineers were thinking at the time.
On the hardware side, the Sony Tablet P sports two 5.5-inch displays and is designed to fit in your pocket, but weighs 372 g (0.82 lb) and measures just 28 mm (1.1 in) when closed. ) is thick.
The device had a dual-core Nvidia Tegra 2 processor, 1 GB of RAM and 4 GB of massive onboard storage. It wasn’t exactly cutting-edge at the time, and was far less powerful than a 2012 flagship smartphone like a quad-core. Samsung Galaxy S3. But Sony boldly charged $599, which was more expensive than competitors like Samsung’s Galaxy Tab Plus 7.0, as well as most flagship smartphones at the time.
The software could have been worse. The Sony Tablet P Tablet ships with Android 3.2 Honeycomb OS out of the box. Sony built its own application to use dual displays, but it was a mixed bag of its own. The bottom panel has controls for playing videos and games on the top display. Sony’s keyboard fills the bottom display while sending messages, emails and more. Sony has few choices and hasn’t expanded, but it has leveraged some of its PlayStation titles for the Tablet P.
What’s worse is that this device has no built-in multitasking capabilities. You can forget about watching videos and browsing the web at the same time. At the time, third-party apps didn’t explicitly recognize dual screens or aspect ratios. They appear on a small top screen or spread awkwardly across both screens with a thick black bar in the middle of the app.
More from Sony: PlayStation 5 Buyer’s Guide: What You Need to Know
Although a novel idea, the Sony Tablet P was one of the company’s biggest technical failures. The price dropped to $199 just a few months after release. An Android 4.0 Jelly Bean update was planned and released, but the tablet disappeared from Sony stores before the update was released.
Just ahead of time?