With the popularity of the iPad, tablets are one of the hottest sectors in tech right now. It seems every company is building one (some with better results than others) to try to cash in on some of that popularity. Sony introduced a pair of new entrants today that offer something we’ve never seen before: an official foursquare app specifically designed for tablets.
The Sony Tablet S and its clamshell cousin, the Tablet P, come preloaded with a special version of the foursquare Android app that’s specially designed for the tablet format. The app lets users check in, see their nearby friends on a map, browse nearby tips, find specials, add photos and more.
Judging by the screenshots in the Android Market, though, there’s one thing that’s noticeably absent: Explore. It doesn’t appear in any of the screenshots and there’s no tab for it like you’d expect to see in the current official phone versions of the app.
This is foursquare’s first foray into an app for tablets, although third parties have tackled them for the Blackberry Playbook and HP Touchpad. It’s unclear if this app was built by foursquare or contracted to a third party (we’ve reached out to foursquare for clarification).
Foursquare previously said they weren’t able to commit resources to building an app for the iPad. In the comments of an About Foursquare post in May, foursquare head of product Alex Rainert said:
â€¦The reality is that, in a world of finite resources, weâ€™d rather focus our resources on evolving and improving the iPhone experience (one that we feel is absolutely central to realizing the core vision of our product) rather than splinter those resources and get distracted by a supplemental experience that will continue to take resources to maintainâ€¦
Hopefully this app will eventually come to other Android tablets and represents a thaw in foursquare’s attitude toward tablets, opening the doors for a potential iPad version in the future. With the popularity of tablets â€” especially the iPad â€” it seems it would be a way to engage more users.
The uses for a tablet version are much different than those of the phone version. It should have much more of a focus on exploration than checking in, with options for using Explore, adding items to your to-do list and browsing lists from other users.
The Sony Tablet S offers a high resolution 9.4 inch display and a uniqueÂ asymmetricÂ design meant to make it more comfortable to hold. It’s also Playstation certified, meaning it will be able to run downloaded Playstation 1 and PSP games. It’s available for pre-orderÂ now or it will be in stores in September for $499 (16GB) and $599 (32GB).
After the jump: more screenshots of the app.