Sony has launched what it's touting as the "world's lightest and slimmest 10-inch tablet" at MWC. The Xperia Z4 Tablet is an Android slate weighing in at 390g with a thickness of just 6.1mm. It is set to challenge other high-end slates such as the iPad Air 2 and undertake some tasks the Japanese company's previous VAIO laptop lineup would have been marketed as a solution for.
The design improvements represented by the Z4 Tablet are definitely a step up on its predecessor, with reduced bezels and a drop from the 6.4mm thick, 462g form factor of the Xperia Z2 Tablet helping make it look more high-end and professional. The new flagship tablet is also faster than its predecessor, with improved camera optics and a much brighter 2K display thrown into the mix.
The Xperia Z4 Tablet features an 8MP main shooter and a 5.1MP wide-angle front snapper for selfies and video calls. Under the hood, the tablet comes with Qualcomm's Snapdragon 810 octa-core 64-bit CPU, 3GB RAM and 32GB internal memory expandable via microSD. The 810 chip helps provide a longer battery life, with Sony claiming that the 6,000mAh capacity unit is capable of providing up to 17 hours of video playback in spite of the high display resolution of 2560x1600 pixels.
A noticeable change with the Z4 Tablet is Sony's attempt to get more business customers on board. The ultra thin waterproof tablet comes with a PC-like mode which allows users to transform it into a laptop by attaching a keyboard. The accessory will have a dedicated slot and docking detection, 0-130 degree adjustable tilt, and a laptop-style touchpad.
"We wanted to make the tablet into a better work companion," Jun Makino, Sony’s senior product marketing manager told the Guardian. "One of the key demands has been lightness and slimness, so it’s easy to carry around and hold; but also battery life so that it lasts a productive day."
Since Sony no longer owns the VAIO laptop line, the additional support for a BKB500 Bluetooth keyboard and inclusion of Microsoft's Office productivity suite shows that the company has yet to completely give up on trying to appeal to the mobile business audience. However, whether Android is capable of powering a useful workaday laptop-style computer remains to be seen.
The slate is set to be released globally in black or white, in 4G LTE and Wi-Fi variants, from June 2015.
Sony's latest mid-range smartphone
In addition to the tablet, Sony unveiled the M4 Aqua at MWC2015. It's a mid-range smartphone which echoes the company's well-received flagship Xperia Z3 smartphone. The device measures just 7.3mm thick and weighs 136g, and offers a two-day battery life, waterproof design, 13MP main camera, 5MP super wide-angle front shooter and a 5-inch screen.
Available sometime in Spring 2015, the M4 Aqua will cost less than half the price of the Xperia Z3 at €300 (£220). Where's the Xperia Z4 flagship smartphone? It looks like Sony is saving it for an announcement / event later in the year.