As far as we can see, there was always one flaw with e-readers. You still need the odd paperback on your bookshelf if you want to read in the bubble bath. After all, you don’t want to risk dropping your expensive gizmo into the soap suds.
But, Sony seems to have solved that problem. Hot on the heels of its impressive waterproof Xperia Z which its makers say you can take in the shower, comes the tablet version, the Sony Xperia Tablet Z, which you can take into the bath.
Sony has been struggling of late to compete with the likes of Apple and Samsung. The iPhone 5 and Samsung Galaxy range have been seen as more covetable by consumers.
But, the impressive Xperia Z phone has marked a decided upturn in Sony’s desirability. And, the Japanese multinational’s Xperia tablet is equally as striking, if not more so.
Unveiled at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, the Tablet Z truly is waterproof. You can drop it in the bath without any fear of it breaking and then use it with wet fingers.
Sony says it can be immersed in three feet of water for up to half an hour without any problems. It means you can watch that movie or read that book in the tub.
Kaz Tajima, who is head of UX creative design and planning at Sony Mobile Communications, said: “Xperia Tablet Z reinforces our intention to be a leading player in the premium Android device market, by building on the principles established by Xperia Z and perfectly optimising them for the tablet form factor.”
Due to be launched in the US this spring, the Tablet Z is the world’s thinnest tablet. At just 6.9mm thick, the Tablet Z compares favourably with the iPad Mini, which is 7.2mm. It will run Android 4.1 Jellybean at first, but Sony is promising a quick upgrade to 4.2.
The new gizmo is powered with a Snapdragon S4 Pro processor with 1.5 GHz asynchronous quad-core CPU and 2GB RAM. Weighing just 495 grams, the device is not only water, but dust resistant, and has a durable glass front display to help protect against knocks and bumps.
There are two cameras – an eight-megapixel gizmo on the rear and a two-megapixel camera on the front. The S-Force Front Surround 3D, which provides realistic surround sound using two speakers, should prove popular with movie buffs and gamers.
The firm is, in large part, expecting to tablet to be used within the home, either as a companion device, or as an additional screen.
The device has so far met with measured reviews. While Harry McCracken for Time said it was impossible for the Z to trump the full-sized iPad, he added: “Sony has come up with one of the most elegant, well-engineered Android tablets so far.
But one of the most compelling selling points is sure to be the price. The Tablet Z will cost $499 for a 32GB version and $599 for a 64GB version. A white 32GB model will be exclusively available in Sony stores and online.