Sony recalls Xperia Tablet S over water damage issues

Just over a month after Sony launched its Xperia Tablet S at IFA 2012 in Berlin, the Japanese company is halting sales of the device while it fixes a manufacturing issue.

What is supposed to be a water-resistant tablet is actually susceptible to water damage due to a defect that leaves a gap in the rear display panel.

"Sony strives to design high-quality products and is committed to providing a positive customer experience. Unfortunately, we have identified that a limited number of our new Xperia Tablet S released in September 2012 may not meet our splash-proof specification," a company spokeswoman said in an email.

"As a result, we have asked retailers to stop selling [the] Xperia Tablet S immediately, until we have had the opportunity to inspect and replace stock with product that meets our stringent quality standards," she added.

In a press release, the company promised that it will inspect and repair existing owners' Xperia tablets for free. More information is available on Sony's support website.

"I sincerely apologise to our customers. We apologise ... for the inconvenience," the translated release said. "[We] look forward to your understanding and consideration."

Sony has not revealed when it will resume sales; updates will be announced on its website.

Following its announcement at IFA in late-August, the entertainment-focused Tablet S began rolling out in the UK on 10 September. Pricing for Sony's latest offering starts at £329 for a 16GB Wi-Fi only model, rising to £449 for a 64GB Wi-Fi version or £429 for a 16GB iteration that comes 3G-ready.

Running Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich and sporting a 1.4GHz quad-core Nvidia Tegra 3 processor, the tablet sports a 9.4in, 1,280 x 800 pixel screen, as well as an 8-megapixel rear-facing camera, and a 1-megapixel front-side camera.

Sony has shipped about 100,000 devices so far, according to Reuters. Reports indicate that the recall is expected to have no significant impact on earnings.

There are no safety concerns in regards to the casing issue, but Sony warns customers to stay away from splash zones while using the device, which otherwise functions as intended.