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Apple challengers line up their wares

Paul Smith (via AFR) | Feb. 26, 2013
Increased competition in the lucrative smartphone and tablet computer business, previously dominated by Apple’s iPhone and iPad, was on clear display on the opening full day of Mobile World Congress.

Samsung will pre-load Visa payWave mobile payment app on the devices which will enable consumers to make “wave and pay” payments. According to Visa, the tie-up is the “first of its kind”, and renews the pressure on Apple which is yet to include the NFC chip in the iPhone.

Sony's skinny tablet

Japanese electronics giant Sony is also trying to regain standing in the markets Apple has led. It announced a new, waterproof Android-based tablet, called the Xperia Tablet Z, which it said was the world’s thinnest 10.1-inch tablet currently available.

Sony claimed the tablet, like its recently launched Xperia Z smartphone, could be submerged in up to three feet of water for a period of up to 30 minutes without breaking, meaning worry free bathtime reading could be on the cards.

It is at the top end of the tablet market, putting it up against the iPad. It will be sold in the United States at $US499 ($486) for 16 gigabytes of internal storage, or $US599 ($583) for 32 gigabytes. Local pricing was not immediately available.

“The company only has modest expectations for sales of the device, which is very much aimed at the premium end of the tablet spectrum,” Mr Crips said.

“However, in terms of design, build quality, features (including excellent sound and display), usability, and exclusivity, the Xperia Tab may prove to be a key product in Sony’s rebirth.”

A tablet and phone in one 

Taiwanese challengers Asus, also took to the stage in Barcelona to launch the second version of its hybrid tablet/smartphone device, the PadFone Infinity. The PadFone is a 5-inch Android phone, that comes with an additional 10.1 inch screen that turns it into a tablet. The overall cost of the package, including the phone and the screen, is €999 ($1269.)

Asus said the two-in-one nature of ASUS PadFone removes the tedious need to synchronise data between smartphone and tablet.

 

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