Sony Takes On The MS Surface, Introduces The Full-Featured VAIO Duo 11 Windows 8 Slide-Out Tablet

It’s half-tablet, half-notebook, but all awesome. Sony briefly announced the VAIO Duo 11 at its IFA 2012 press conference in Berlin today. It’s a powerhouse, too.

The Duo 11 will be available with several different Intel Core CPUs with the Core i7-3517U topping the range. Alongside the CPU will either be 4GB or 8GB of system memory with 128GB or 256GB SSD for local storage. But it’s the 11.6-inch 1080p capacitive display that will surely attract the attention. Window 8 (or Window 8 Pro) will look fantastic on this device — and it should run well, too.

The VAIO Duo 11 leaked online earlier this week. The slide-out tablet seems to be a classic Sony device with a fantastic industrial design, which will no doubt give the Surface some competition. However, like most classic Sony devices, it will probably be expensive.

Sony failed to detail pertinent release information about the upcoming device. A good design is only half the formula for success. A good price is equally important and Sony is no doubt waiting to see where Microsoft prices its upcoming tablet as well.

The devices are similar but the Sony features an important difference: an always-connected, backlit keyboard. The Duo 11 seems to use a retractable keyboard, but yet one that’s very thin. Depending on how this keyboard works — Sony has yet to provide hands-on demos — it could provide the Duo 11 with a distinct advantage over the Surface with its fabric keyboard.

The Duo 11 ships with everything that’s expected of an x86 platform: WiFi, Bluetooth 4.0, ethernet, two USB 3.0 ports, VGA out, HDMI out and a memory card slot. There are two cameras, front and rear, along with an optional extended life battery pack. It weighs just 1.3kg, which is nearly twice as much as the new iPad for those keeping track.

The Sony Duo 11 will launch this October alongside Windows 8 — and the Microsoft Surface.