It seems like everybody's getting into the 3G tablet game these days, especially on AT&T: Samsung, HTC, Acer and even Pantech have all released models within the last 6 months. But so far, Sony hasn't seemed all that interested in anything but WiFi for its Tablet S, at least in the United States - back home in Japan, 3G models of both the Tablet S and Tablet P are available. According to a recently leaked roadmap, that may soon change, with a new Sony tablet code-named the Crystal.
Not much is known about the device's hardware, except that it'll be restricted to HSPA+ networks. That's a shame, considering that even cheap tablets are using AT&T's LTE data speeds now. However, the report states that the tablet will launch in the first quarter (possibly on February 18th like the Samsung Galaxy Note) for $409.99. That price almost certainly includes a two-year data contract, because every Android user wants nothing more than a 24-month lock-in while the hardware world whizzes by.
So, what is it? Since we haven't heard anything about drastically improved hardware, it seems likely that the Tablet S (above) will be getting a slight make-over and a new name. AT&T and other American carriers like to do that sort of thing: see also the Sony Ericsson Xperia S, given a slightly different shell and renamed the Ion for AT&T's customers. That said, it's always possible that Sony's managed to keep brand new hardware under wraps for months. If that's the case, a reveal at Mobile World Congress in February would be a likely scenario.