Sony unveils Xperia Tablet S with optional Surface-like keyboard cover

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Sony has revealed a new tablet at the IFA technology show in Berlin today. Borrowing heavily from the Microsoft Surface (or perhaps the other way around, depending on who you ask), the Xperia Tablet S supports a familiar looking cover with a keyboard built in – a $100 optional accessory, mind you.

At first glance, the Xperia Tablet S looks a lot like last year’s Tablet S as the unit shares the same 9.4-inch display operating at 1,280 x 800 and features the same overall folded magazine design albeit in a smaller and sleeker shell. The system also includes 1GB of RAM and 16GB, 32GB or 64GB or onboard storage and an IR blaster that can be used to control TVs, Blu-ray and DVD players, cable boxes and more – just like last year’s model – but that’s where the similarities end.

Sony has packed the slate with a quad-core Nvidia Tegra 3 processor (clock speed unknown at this time), an 8-megapixel rear-facing camera and a 1-megapixel front shooter. The tablet is also slightly lighter than the last generation unit, weighing in at 1.26 pounds (0.04 pounds lighter).

Aside from the keyboard cover, Sony will also release a $100 standard docking stand and an upgraded model with built-in speakers for $129. Look for the latter to hit stores in November.

The slate ships with Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich and will retail for $399, $499 and $599 for the 16GB, 32GB and 64GB models, respectively. Pre-orders are being accepted immediately and Sony plans to start shipping the Xperia Tablet S on September 7.

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