It's been many moons since the announcement of the Sony Xperia Ion -- more than five months since it was announced for AT&T, and more than five months since we went hands-on with it AT&T's developer event at CES, actually. But today, AT&T has announced it'll carry the 4G LTE Android smartphone starting June 24. It'll cost $99 with a two-year contract.
In exchange for that Benjamin, you'll be getting a 4.6-inch device with what Sony's branded an "HD Reality display." It's powered by the Sony Bravia display engine and is pushing a 720x1280 resolution. Sony's also pimping the 12-megapixel camera with a shutter speed of less than a second. It's also got a dedicated camera button that can take the phone from standby to snapping the first shot in a second and a half.
Other specs of note include a Qualcomm S3 dual-core processor at 1.5GHz, 16 gigabytes of internal storage, plus a microSD card slot. And it's PlayStation Certified, to boot, so you can expect some games on this guy.
But the one spec we (and Sony) have been dancing around is that, yes, it's running Android 2.3 Gingerbread. In June 2012. That's a tough one to swallow. But Sony tells us that, yes, the Ion's in line for an upgrade to Ice Cream Sandwich just as soon as it can be, and that the customizations on board already make up for a lot of the Android 4.0 functionality.
So, we've got a week to go before this guy hits the streets. Who's buying?
More: Sony Xperia Ion Forums
EXPERIENCE HD ENTERTAINMENT EVERYWHERE WITH XPERIA™ ION FROM SONY, AVAILABLE EXCLUSIVELY AT AT&T JUNE 24
Sony’s First 4G LTE Smartphone Ideal for Creating and Showcasing Premium Entertainment with Video, Photo, Gaming and Music
DALLAS, June 14, 2012 – Entertainment fans longing for a better mobile HD experience will soon have an all-new 4G LTE Android smartphone to covet as the Xperia ion from Sony arrives exclusively in all AT&T* channels June 24. The new Xperia ion builds on Sony’s reputation as an innovator and leader in imaging and entertainment and costs just $99.99 with a two-year agreement.
AT&T customers have access to the nation’s largest 4G network, covering more than 260 million people. As 4G LTE expands, AT&T customers are able to enjoy a widespread, ultra-fast and consistent 4G experience on their compatible device as they move in and out of LTE areas. AT&T has two 4G networks that work together for customers, LTE and HSPA+ with enhanced backhaul. With other carriers, when you travel outside of their LTE coverage area, you’re on a much slower 3G network.
Sony’s first 4G LTE smartphone comes with a 4.6-inch HD Reality display (1280 x 720), as well as the ability to view HD content on the big screen via HDMI. The HDMI connection also opens the Xperia ion’s TV launcher, a customizable home screen carousel of application shortcuts. You can navigate the TV launcher and the rest of the Xperia ion’s menus at your convenience using your TV’s remote control.***
Shutterbugs will love the Xperia ion’s 12-megapixel Fast Capture camera and quick launch feature to seize life’s unexpected moments. With its dedicated camera button, the Xperia ion swiftly goes from standby to first camera shot in just 1.5 seconds and then from shot-to-shot in less than a second, ensuring you don’t miss a moment. Xperia ion boasts all-around HD video recording, so whether capturing memories or video chatting, you can be sure to have high-quality video on the go using either your rear or front-facing cameras.
Xperia ion is complemented by SmartTags****, which let you do things you normally do on your phone, but more quickly and easily, with just one tap. Using near field communication technology, SmartTags let you store device preferences for a variety of locations and situations – like opening and controlling volume on the music player if you head out for a run, turning on GPS and Bluetooth in the car or turning on your alarm and silencing your ringer at night.
Sony Entertainment on the Go
Taking your music and videos with you everywhere just got easier than ever thanks to the Sony Entertainment Network (SEN). Sony Music Unlimited puts a global catalog of more than12 million songs at your fingertips, and Sony Video Unlimited makes sure there is never a dull moment with the latest Hollywood blockbusters and TV shows from all major studios available for you to rent or buy.
For the Xperia ion, both Music Unlimited and Video Unlimited are available for download from the Google Play store. AT&T customers who buy the Xperia ion will get to try the premium service level of Music Unlimited free for thirty days. The Xperia ion is also ready for advanced gaming as it is PlayStation® Certified. The hardware is optimized to deliver an exceptional gaming experience and users will have future access to PlayStation titles as the catalog is developed. With so much entertainment to be enjoyed, the Xperia ion comes with plenty of internal memory, with the option to add up to 32GB external (microSD™) memory.
For more information, customers can visit http://www.androidcentral.com/e?link=http%3A%2F%2Fclick.linksynergy.com%2Ffs-bin%2Fclick%3Fid%3DJAF5WzpxbKM%26subid%3D%26offerid%3D321145.1%26type%3D10%26tmpid%3D13664%26u1%3DUUacUdUnU24515%26RD_PARM1%3Dhttp%253A%252F%252Fwww.att.com%252Faboutus.&token=zg4V16iD
- 4.6" (measured diagonally) 720p HD Reality Display with Mobile BRAVIA® Engine for unbeatable HD viewing
- HD imaging excellence from Sony: 12MP camera with Exmor R™ for Mobile camera sensor, 1080p HD video recording, 1 MP 720p HD front-facing camera
- Easy multi-screen connectivity with HDMI and DLNA®
- 1.5Ghz dual core processor
- 16GB internal memory with microSD™ expansion slot supports up to 32GB
- PlayStation Certified for high quality mobile gaming
*AT&T products and services are provided or offered by subsidiaries and affiliates of AT&T Inc. under the AT&T brand and not by AT&T Inc.
**Data rates apply.
***Compatible with Bravia Sync enabled devices. Limited functionality supported on most HDMI enabled TV’s.
****SmartTags sold separately.