索尼公司（Sony）将复兴大业的希望寄托在了极致轻薄防水的Xperia Z平板电脑上。与这款平板电脑同名的Xperia Z手机在市场上反响不错，索尼希望Xperia Z平板电脑也能复制成功。
而与此同时，松下公司（Panasonic）则将其采用4K技术的平板电脑捧为明日之星。这种技术号称能用比现有高分辨率还高四倍的分辨率显示图像。这两款产品都旨在夺取平板电脑高端市场，这也是日本平板厂商希望占据的细分市场。Z的售价约为500美元。分析师称， 跟市面上其他平板相比，这个价格实在高昂，但它或许能为对手树立一种全新标准。而索尼则称，自己的Xperia Z平板是全球最纤薄、日本最轻盈的产品。
据市场研究公司IDC日本称，2012年日本共卖出了360万台平板电脑，而矢野经济研究所则称，这个数字接近420万台——几乎是2011年全年销量的两倍。矢野还预计，2013年这一数字将达560万台。该研究所还表示，苹果公司仍然占据着销售额的大头。林信行称：“iPad mini非常畅销，我不清楚它的累计销量是否已超过了iPad。”而IDC则称iPad mini确实已超过了iPad。他说：“在第一名身后很远的位置是Kindle Fire、Nexus 7和Kobo。可能索尼只能远远地排在第六位，然后才是东芝（Toshiba）、NEC和其他品牌。”
Stung badly by soaring sales of foreign-made smartphones and tablets, Japan's electronics makers are fighting back with a bevy of hi-tech tablets they hopes will turn the tables on the dominant Apple iPad.
Sony (SNE) is setting its hopes on the svelte, bantam-weight, waterproof Xperia Tablet Z. It aims to duplicate the success of the popular smartphone of the same name, says the firm.
Panasonic (PC), meanwhile, is hitching its star to a tablet with so-called 4K technology that it claims displays images at four times greater resolution than existing high-definition resolutions. Both are aimed at the premium end of the tablet spectrum, where Japan tablet makers expect to find their niche. At around $500, the Z's price is steep compared to other tablets on the market but could set new standards for competitors, say analysts. Sony claims its Xperia Tablet Z is the world's slimmest tablet, and Japan's lightest.
Some think the Z and its ilk could help pull Sony out of a vast financial hole. Recently the firm reported losses for the last quarter of 2012 of 10.8 billion yen. It has been the demand for tablets, particularly those from Apple (AAPL), that has helped to end Sony's and Japan's hardware hegemony over the world's gadgets and piled up its red ink. Sony is still struggling to catch up, says technology consultant Nobuyuki Hayashi, especially with the iPad. "Japanese manufacturers are making so many tablets … but I haven't seen anyone using them," he says.
It must be particularly galling for Japan's tech industry to miss out on the tablet bonanza. It is estimated Japan supplies 20% to 30% of the parts for the iPad. (They are mostly assembled in China.) Sony, meanwhile, produced tablet computers long before Apple. Trouble was, nobody wanted them. Domestic demand for such gadgets was always poor until, that is, the iPad debuted here nearly 3 years ago. "Tablet adoption is very late in Japan. Of course, this is expected to change," says Tokyo-based publisher Xavier Marchand.
According to analysts at IDC Japan, 3.6 million tablets were sold in Japan in 2012, although another estimate from Yano Research suggests figures are closer to 4.2 million -- nearly twice the number sold in 2011. Yano expects sales to reach 5.6 million for 2013. Apple still accounts for the majority of sales here it says. "The iPad mini has been doing fairly well I don't know if the cumulative has exceeded that of iPad," says Hayashi. (According to IDC it has.) "Then after a big gap come Kindle Fire, Nexus 7, and Kobo. And then, perhaps, on distant sixth place are Sony, followed by Toshiba, NEC, etc.," he says.
Where Japan's beleaguered tech firms see their chances is in the development of products for business users, particularly in Japan where the salaryman so far remains generally nonplussed by tablets. Panasonic's new 4K offering, for example, hopes to edge out Apple in the market for creative professionals like photographers, designers, architects, and engineers. To compete, Japan Inc. is also eyeing more tie-ups with outside companies. Panasonic's new baby was created by partnering with Microsoft (MSFT) and IBM (IBM).
Others like Sharp and Toshiba, however, seem to have lost the plot altogether when it comes to tablets says Hayashi. Ideas for kickstarting their tablet sales seem few and far between. "Toshiba had no clue. So they produced as many sized tablets as they could and see which one size would catch fire. But no one wanted to buy a Toshiba tablet, so I think they are still clueless," he says. "They've stop producing random sizes and are following the popular formats in the market. NEC and Fujitsu are just following the market trends without a clue, too."