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Sony launches Xperia tablet in push for mobile success

Sony launches Xperia tablet in push for mobile success

Thursday, August 30, 2012, 11:11 GMT+7

Sony Corp released an upgraded version of its Android tablet on Wednesday, branding its rival to Apple Inc's iPad and Samsung Electronics' Galaxy as "Xperia" in a bid to unify its mobile devices under one name.

Sony has identified its mobile devices unit, which also makes Xperia smartphones, as one of its key units as it tries to overcome losses from televisions that contributed to an overall record net loss of 455 billion yen (US$5.8 billion) in the year ended March 31.

Featuring a 9.4 inch screen and loaded with the Android 4.0 operating system, the Xperia is the second tablet from Sony, which released its first models in April last year.

At the time, Sony said it wanted to claim second spot in the increasingly competitive tablet market ahead of Samsung, but failed to ignite enough consumer interest in the devices.

The iconic Japanese consumer electronics brand also wants to boost sales of digital cameras and games consoles, while nurturing new businesses including medical devices.

Though more powerful than its predecessors, the new tablet from Sony also faces a more crowded marketplace. In June, Microsoft Corp introduced its first tablet, dubbed Surface.

Signs of a turnaround for Sony are yet to emerge.

On August 2 it cut its full-year operating profit forecast to 130 billion yen from 180 billion, and slashed its combined sales target for Vita and PSP handheld games consoles to 12 million from 16 million.

The Xperia tablet will retail in the U.S. from September 7, costing $399 for a 16 gigabyte version and $599 for a 64 gigabyte model, the company said in a press release. Like Microsoft's device it is also available with a keyboard that doubles as a cover, for which consumers will be asked to pay an addition $99.99.



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