Sony announced today that the Xperia Tablet Z, a flagship Android slate influenced by the smartphone that shares the same name, is launching today worldwide.

The device is now available “across the globe” through Sony’s various retail and operators, as well as numerous online channels.

The launch is timely because it follows I/O, the annual developer conference by Google. Many expected the company to unveil an updated version of its popular Nexus 7 tablet, but the omission of any hardware announcements – excluding the stock Android version of the Samsung Galaxy S4 smartphone – has created an interesting gap in the market for a new, premium Android slate.

Xperia Tablet Z Water 730x486 Sony’s ultra thin 10.1” Xperia Tablet Z is now available to buy worldwide from $499.99

The Xperia Tablet Z, announced in January, boasts a 10.1-inch touchscreen at a resolution of 1200×1920, equal to 224 ppi pixel density. Multitouch can support up to 10 pressure points at any one time, and also takes advantage of the Sony Mobile BRAVIA Engine 2.

Under the hood is a 1.5 GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon APQ8064 processor, along with 2GB of RAM and 16GB of internal storage. It runs Android version 4.1.2 (Jelly Bean), although an upgrade to version 4.2 is already in the pipeline.

Along with a microSD slot, an 8.1-megapixel rear-facing camera – capable of shooting 1080p video at 30 frames per second, and a 2-megapixel HD front-facing snapper, it’s a pretty formidable device.

It’s a looker too. At just 6.9mm thick and 495 grams in weight, it’s an awfully nice 10-inch tablet to hold in the hand.

The trade-off is, inevitably, the firmware skin and plethora of apps that hardware manufacturers feel compelled to cram into Android devices. The Xperia Tablet Z is no exception, including “signature” Sony apps such as WALKMAN, Movies and Albums.

There’s also access to the Music Unlimited and Video Unlimited, the two on-demand streaming services provided by Sony across most of its current hardware.

The tablet is available right now as both an LTE and WiFi-only model, and pricing varies depending on the region. The US version of the Sony store, however, has the device listed for $499.99 as the 16GB base model and $599.99 for the 32GB variant.