Sony releases Xperia Z2 Tablet at Mobile World Congress 2014
- The slimmer and lighter 10.1 inch tablet is waterproof, features a Snapdragon 2.3 Ghz processor, quad-core Krait CPU, Adreno 330 GPU, and 3GB RAM
- The tablet features a 1920 x 1200 touchscreen, a rear facing 8.1 megapixel camera, with full 4K video and still recording capability, and a 2.2 megapixel front camera
- The Xperia Z2 tablet runs Android 4.4, is preloaded with OfficeSuite Pro 7, and is available to buy now online in the UK starting at £399 and throughout wider Europe for £499
Huawei’s MediaPad X1 tablet with 4G LTE connectivity and full smartphone capability
- MediaPad X1, running on Android 4.2, features a 7-inch, 1920 x 1200, 10-point capacitive touch thin, lightweight display and is powered by a Kirin 910 1.6GHz quad-core processor
- Featuring 13MP rear-facing and 5MP front-facing cameras, MediaPad X1 boasts a battery that provides 21 days of standby time and more than five full days of continuous video or web surfing. It also features a reverse charging function enabling it to power additional mobile devices
- MediaPad X1 is marketed with a companion piece, the Talkband—an activity tracker which includes both a wristband wearable and a Bluetooth headset support
- The MediaPad X1 will be available in China, Russia, Western Europe, Middle East, and Latin America from March 2014 at a suggested price of €399.
MediaPad M1: Huawei’s entertainment tablet for on the go
- MediaPad M1 tablet features an 8-inch 800 x 1280, IPS multi-touch capacitive screen with dual front-facing speakers and dual microphones for enhanced sound quality and stereo effects
- It is powered by a 1.6 GHz quad-core professor and 4800 mAh battery allowing it to play up to 8 hours of video on a single charge and has built-in WiFi routers, 2.4/5G dual mode WiFi support and voice call and SMS capabilities
- MediaPad M1 is available at a suggested price of €299 from Q1 in Europe, as well as in Russia, the Middle East, China, Japan, Asia Pacific, Australia, and Latin America with other markets to come.
In the increasingly crowded field of Android consumer/entertainment tablets, establishing product individuality is key if vendors hope to command a premium price. Sony and Huawei, each offering tablets targeted primarily at the consumer segment, have taken very different approaches to the tablet experience. Balancing cost and performance is the name of the game in the consumer market. These three tablets represent a cross section of approaches, all of which can be successful within the Android marketplace and target very different customers.
Huawei’s approach is oriented towards value customers, particularly those in emerging markets, where cost and battery life are key but is also trying to lure in premium customers. For Huawei customers who might live in regions where access to charging stations is more difficult to come by, battery life is critical. The Huawei MediaPad X1’s reported 21 days of standby time and up to five full days of continuous video or web surfing outdistances similarly sized tablets on battery time alone. Add to that the 323 pixels per inch (PPI) display, slim design, LTE connectivity, and phone functionality and this tablet appears on the surface to be geared for a premium customer.
Curiously Huawei offset all those pluses by opting for a year old version of Android, version 4.2. The combination of portability, phone capability, battery life, and screen performance is likely to attract some higher value customers at 399 €. Huawei also offers a 99€ TalkBand B1, which can be worn as a smart band on the wrist or utilized as a Bluetooth earpiece. The concept is interesting but the combined cost is likely to limit adoption in emerging markets and the awkwardness of the solution may inhibit sales in western markets, where mega sized phones have been less well received than in Asia.
Huawei’s 8 inch MediaPad M1 represents another approach, with some performance compromises that enable a 100€ cost reduction relative to the X1. The most obvious change is the slightly larger screen than the X1, but at a significantly lower resolution (189 PPI). With less battery power than its X1 counterpart, the M1 still provides LTE connectivity and full phone capability. The WWAN connectivity is key in some of the developing markets that Huawei serves where access to free WiFi can be an issue. Once again, Huawei has put the emphasis on connectivity and portability. IHS estimates that 20% of 2014 tablet shipments will be cellular-enabled.
Sony’s design approach is markedly different, aiming for a premium customer in developed markets. This plays to Sony’s strengths, a global power brand with a wide range of consumer and business offerings, from phones to high performance, professional cameras and monitors. The Xperia Z2 tablet is built around the latest version of the Android OS, version 4.4, and targets consumers wanting a larger screen (10-inches) for entertainment, as well as business capability.
Rather than going for the ultra-portable approach of the 7.x- and 8.x-inch units that Huawei introduced, Sony put the emphasis on features that complement the Sony suite of content and interaction with other Sony devices, from cameras to televisions. Waterproofing, a signature feature of the Sony Xperia tablet provides a level of protection not available in most tablets on the market today.
The battery life in the Sony Xperia Z2 tablet is equivalent to competitors in the size range (Apple, Samsung), with a reported 10 hours of multimedia viewing on a single charge. Instead of opting for super long battery life, Sony invested in a feature more suited for a base with easy access to electricity, the ability to quick charge the product through inclusion of Qualcomm’s QuickCharge 2.0 technology, enabling it to charge 75 per cent faster than competitive devices. The combination of features – quickcharge, 4K recording, 10-inch screen, waterproofing, and OfficeSuite Pro7 preloaded - all add up to a power machine for the amateur or professional on the go.