Sony to take on Apple with launch of first tablet PCs

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By Isabel Reynolds | April 26, 2011 2:49 PM EST

Sony, a laggard in the booming tablet market, unveiled its first tablet computers in an ambitious attempt to grab second place in the market created and still dominated by Apple's iPad.

The new gadgets will use an operating system based on Android 3.0, Kunimasa Suzuki, deputy president of the consumer products and services group, told reporters in Tokyo on Tuesday.

One of the models will have two screens, he added.

Suzuki raised eyebrows in January when he told reporters at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas in January that Sony was aiming for the No.2 spot in the tablet market behind Apple within a year, even though it had yet to put a product on the market.

The company has emphasized the need to differentiate its tablet from rivals, even if that takes time.

Sales of tablet devices are expected to quadruple to about 294 million units between 2011 and 2015, with almost half that made up by Android-based, according to research firm Gartner.

In a bid to tap that burgeoning demand, competitors including Samsung Electronics -- whose Galaxy Tab has emerged as Apple's strongest competitor in the tablet market -- and Motorola, LG Electronics and HTC are flooding the market with tablets running Google's Android software.

Shares in Sony, which unveils its quarterly results on May 26, fell 2.1 on Tuesday.

(Editing by Edwina Gibbs and Anshuman Daga)

See all CES 2011 Coverage »

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