Sony is unveiling a new Android tablet, the Xperia Tablet Z, at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona Monday. The company claims the tablet is not only the “world’s thinnest 10.1-inch tablet” at 6.9 millimeters, but it's apparently waterproof in up to three feet of water for 30 minutes.
Inside, the Xperia Tablet Z has a quad-core 1.5GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro processor, 2GB of RAM, and a 1920x1200 display running Android 4.1 Jelly Bean. (Sony has gone scouts-honor that the tablet will be updated to 4.2 "after launch.") The tablet weighs 495 grams (1.05 pounds), and it has an 8-megapixel rear and 2-megapixel front camera, plus 16GB/32GB storage configurations with a microSD slot that can take up to a 64GB card.
The tablet also contains an IR blaster that works with a special version of an app Sony has created called TV SideView. TV SideView integrates with a user’s cable provider and allows users to browse the program guide as well as currently airing content.
If users see a program they want to watch within the app, they can swipe the selection up toward the TV, and the cable box will then tune itself to that channel and program. Because this version of the app relies on the IR blaster—rather than on a Wi-Fi network as it must with other Android tablets—the app can work with many non-networked TVs and set-top boxes. The app, combined with the IR blaster, presents a compelling solution to the problem we have communicating with TVs as their functionality grows more complex.
Sony will price the Xperia Tablet Z at $499 for a 16GB Wi-Fi version and $599 for 32GB. The company has no current plans to release a 4G version. The tablet has the broad release window of “spring,” and it will be on display throughout MWC, where two intrepid Ars reporters are on the ground to provide all the latest updates.