Sony's first round of tablets, the Tablet S and Tablet P, were interesting ideas that weren't always well executed. But the company's back at it, announcing today at IFA the new Xperia Tablet S. The new device looks a lot like the Tablet S, particularly the folded-back-magazine aesthetic, but it's clear Sony took cues from what it — and its competitors — did right with all older tablets. The Xperia Tablet S is waterproof, and runs Android 4.0 on a Tegra 3 processor, but more than its pure power Sony's promoting some of the software on the device. The Tablet S was a nifty IR-capable universal remote control, and Sony's beefed up the functionality even more, adding support for macros so you can turn on a bunch of devices at once or easily tune to a certain channel with one press. Sony's app also features a visual TV guide, which looks a lot like the Peel setup on some of the Galaxy Tabs we've seen.
There are more software tweaks, too, like a "Guest Mode" that lets you quickly configure which apps and settings are available to a particular user — turning off the Play Store for your kid could be huge. Some of Sony's cross-platform services also come preloaded, like PlayMemories and the Reader app. Small Apps are basically the pop-up widgets we've seen on the Galaxy Note and others, which give you a quick pop-up with a notepad or calculator. In general, Android has been customized much like it is on Xperia phones – this is the first tablet with Xperia branding, and it fits into Sony's lineup nicely.
The accessories lineup for the Xperia Tablet S is where it could get really compelling. Sony's offering a $99.99 Cover with Keyboard case that is the absolute spitting image of the Microsoft Surface's Touch Cover — it's light and thin, with a full keyboard stamped into the inside. There's also a $99.99 docking stand, which raises the tablet up on a TV-like pedestal. Of course, the usual cadre is also here, a dock, charger, and keyboard-less stand.
The Xperia Tablet S will be out September 7th, and you can pre-order today. The device will come with 16, 32, or 64GB of storage, and will cost between $399 and $599.