Sony Has No Plans for a 7-inch Tablet, Focusing on Higher-End Products

PHOTO: Sonys Xperia Tablet S runs Android 4.0 and has a unique keyboard dock.
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Despite plans to lay off 1,000 employees, streamline its business and kill off its optical disc drive unit, Sony has announced a slew of new products.

Among the new products introduced at simultaneous news conferences in Berlin and New York Wednesday was the Xperia Tablet S, a new 9.4-inch tablet that starts at $399.

But absent from Sony's tablet introduction was a 7-inch tablet, a popular size and lower-cost offering among electronics companies looking to compete with the iPad.

The absence is related to Sony's new strategy, the COO and president of Sony U.S., Phil Molyneux, told ABC News in an interview.

"As we move forward you are going to see more of this great innovation at the higher end and the more premium segment. We will put more emphasis there," Molyneux said.

When asked about the smaller form factor specifically, he said: "That's not our direction. We are announcing these products and we think they will resonate with the consumers around the globe."

A Sony product manager shared the same thoughts with ABC News a few weeks ago, explaining that the lower end tablets require sacrifices.

Amazon began selling its 7-inch Kindle Fire about a year ago for $199. It has been one of the most successful Android tablets. Google, in partnership with Asus, followed suit with its $199 Nexus 7 in June. Apple has been rumored to be introducing a lower-cost and smaller iPad, or iPad Mini, in October.

Sony will also begin to offer Windows 8 tablets and laptops in October when Windows 8 is officially launched.

"We continue on the VAIO series of products; we didn't announce here in detail, but we will be sharing those details later," Molyneux said.

Molyneux also maintained that Sony is continuing to put extra effort into specific categories, including digital imaging, and that he feels confident that the company will be able to continue to maintain its product selection. Sony introduced its new NEX-5R camera and action cam as well as an 84-inch 4K TV Wednesday.

"We are confident we can produce them and drive forward," he said. "We are very positive about the product set we have announced."

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