Sony will begin to build its recently relaunched mobile franchise with a first tablet device pitched at the premium end of an already crowded market.

The tablet, announced at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona on Monday, offers market-leading features in camera quality, screen resolution and connectivity. Similar to Sony’s Xperia Z smartphone, which was unveiled last month, the device will also be waterproof.

The Japanese group ended its joint venture to produce mobile devices with Ericsson last year, and has worked on the new handset and tablet with its other departments, such as the Bravia TV team for its screen technology. Sony is planning further devices later this year to create a wider range of handsets and tablets.

Sony’s research suggests that its customers would use the tablet around the home about 80 per cent of the time, which means that it has been designed to interact with other Sony home appliances. There is an inbuilt remote control, for example, and it can access media content held remotely on other devices such as Sony smartphones.

Users can move content around from the tablet to TV, speaker or phone by touching them together.

Sony is hoping to widen the premium tablet market which is already being fiercely fought over by groups such as Apple and Microsoft, although Sony says its tablet will not be as expensive as the latter’s Surface Pro. It declined to specify prices ahead of launch.

The company expects growth in the higher-margin premium market and volume sales in the bottom end of the tablet segment, although it forecasts that mid-range devices could struggle as a result.

The Xperia Z tablet, which uses the Android operating system, claims to be the world’s slimmest. The 10in screen is less than 7mm thick and weighs under 500g. It will launch in Japan this week and be available in other countries in the second quarter.

Kaz Tajima, vice-president at Sony Mobile, said: “Xperia Tablet Z reinforces our intention to be a leading player in the premium Android device market by building on the principles established by Xperia Z.”

The device complies with global LTE standards, and is the first tablet to use Qualcomm’s Snapdragon quad-core processor. The tablet includes an 8 megapixel camera and surround sound.

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