Sony Mobile Communications chief Kunimasa Suzuki took the stage to deliver something of a state of the mobile union address at MWC early this morning, and took a very brief detour to talk availability for one of Sony’s most promising products. As expected, there was no mention of any new hardware during Suzuki’s address (sorry Xperia SP hopefuls), but he did confirm that the company’s Xperia Tablet Z would begin to rollout globally starting in Q2 of this year.
In the United States, the 16GB model is slated to retail for $499, while a larger 32 GB model will sell for $599.
The Tablet Z, if you’ll recall, is an exceedingly trim Jelly Bean-powered tablet that was first announced for the Japanese market back in late January. Nestled inside the dustproof chassis are a 1.5GHz quad-core Qualcomm processor, 2GB of RAM, and 32 GBs of flash storage, as well as Wi-Fi, LTE, and NFC radios. It’s also one of the only Sony Android tablets in recent memory that doesn’t rely on peculiar (some would say gimmicky) design decisions to stand out from the pack — it’s a decidedly far cry from the downright weird style of the dual-screen Tablet P and the folded magazine aesthetic of the Tablet S.
Sony also provided an exceedingly brief glimpse at some of the services that will appear on its svelte tablet. There’s TV Sideview, a universal remote application that also provides guide information for local programming, and a handsome new gallery app allows users to view geotagged photos on a globe.
Devices like the Tablet Z and its smaller cousin the Xperia Z prompted some (including our own Matt Burns) to wonder if Sony had finally hit its mobile stride. That certainly seems to be the sentiment in Japan, at least for now — Suzuki also noted that the Xperia Z eventually became the top-selling smartphone in Japan (though he didn’t mention if the device managed to hold onto the top spot for any significant period of time). While 2012 wasn’t exactly one of Sony’s best years to date, Sony started to turn the tides at the end and that Suzuki seems sure the company’s mobile division will continue to pick up steam.
“I am confident that 2013 will be a breakthrough year for Sony in mobile,” Suzuki remarked.
Note: An earlier version of this post mistakenly referred to Sony Mobile CEO Kunimasa Suzuki as Kunihiro Suzuki — I’m a dope, mea culpa.