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Sony Tablet S Is a Long-Awaited Win

Stocks in this article: SNY

NEW YORK ( MainStreet) -- It's a good bet Harvard Business School is not going to be using Sony (SNY) as a case study -- at least not a positive one. All you can do is gawk at the missteps of the once-hallowed electronics giant: the ridiculously disorganized PlayStation 3 rollout, how it lost its once insurmountable position in the flat-panel TV market, its go-nowhere PC strategy, it's go-nowhere portable device wars, its synergy-free Hollywood movie strategy ... you can't make it up.

But even still, a business ignores Sony at its peril. To wit, Sony's latest attempt in the tablet PC market: the Sony Tablet S ($499). It rolls out Sept. 15, and I sat down for a thorough demo with a company representative Thursday.

Easy to hold, easy to look at and a welcome choice for business types, the S shows Sony can do something right (if not perfectly).

The takeaway? The S is an intriguing option for companies trying to use a tablet get something done.

What you get
The unit is a unique approach to the tablet, with some nice business features kicked in.

Right up front, the S is no Apple (AAPL) iPad. This Google (GOOG) Android-based tablet does not have the same ultrathin design, the same fit or finish -- nor the same pain-in-the-you-know-what proprietary features. The idea with the S is to create a tablet that feels like you are carrying a magazine or thin book. There is a thicker "binding" side and a thinner "page" side. The result is a reasonably light, 1.5-pound, wedge-shaped, touch-controlled tablet about 1 inch thick on one side and a quarter-inch or so thick on the other. The thicker binding side fits comfortably in your hand so you can carry it easily as you work. And the wedge shape -- rather brilliantly, I might add -- greatly reduces glare: Park it on your desk and the design keeps the device angled just enough away from overhead lights. It's a nice, nice touch.

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