Posted by: Ed Tittel
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For over 50 years, Germans (and folks from elsewhere on the continent) have been heading to Berlin in the fall for the IFA (Internationale Funkausstellung, which translates roughly as “International Radio Exposition”). For the past decade or more, that’s meant a serious emphasis on home entertainment and computing, along with lots of other high-end electronics. This past week, Sony announced the Tap 11 Tablet at the IFA — its answer to Microsoft’s Surface Pro — which really ups the ante on Windows tablet computing.
The new Sony VAIO Tap 11 tablet takes the Win8 tablet game to a whole new level, nearly on par with the iPad for thickness and heft.
[Image Credit: Engadget Sony VAIO Tap 11 slide show]
Sony proclaimed the Tap 11 to be “the world’s thinnest tablet PC,” and with a thickness of just under 10mm (0.39″) , they’re not kidding. Some early “reviewers” (observers, really, as Sony has not yet released the PC into reviewers’ hands for full-bore inspection and analysis) have indicated that the Sony Tap 11 is so thin that with its keyboard cover attached in place, it’s about the thickness of the Surface Pro all by itself. But there’s a lot more to like about this high-end tablet PC, including a fourth-generation Haswell processor (the Tap 11 will include ULV versions of either i5 or i7 processor models), 4 GB RAM, an SSD (in capacities up to 512 GB, according to some reports, 128 GB according to others), micro-SD card reader (for which one reviewer says tweezers will be needed for insertion and removal of such media), a single USB 3.0 port, micro-HDMI, NFC, an 8 MPX camera, and a Sony Active Pen stylus for screen input onto the full HD (1920×1080) touch-screen display. Some reviews also indicate the unit will support 4G/3G LTE, as well as 802.11a/b/g/n wireless LAN (but not in all markets, according to CNET) plus Bluetooth and NFC. Sony reports battery life at a disappointing 5-6 hours (on par with the current Ivy Bridge Surface Pro), much to my surprise.
Sony has yet to reveal shipping dates or pricing, but CNET reports that the unit will start shipping in Asia Pacific this month. Hopefully, it will hit the US market soon after that. I really, really want to get my hands on one of these — though that doesn’t necessarily mean I’ll buy one — so I can check out its ergonomics, utility, and overall battery life. If Sony can bring this to market for $900 in the USA, however, it will take the market away from Microsoft. If they make it cheaper, they’ll waltz in late to the Win8 tablet party, and grab a seat at the head of the table!