It wasn't just phones on show at last night's Xperia Party in London. Sony Ericsson was also keen to show off the latest accessory for its 2011 Xperia smartphones -- the Live Dock. This is a brand new smartphone dock which serves not only as a charging station, but allows you to connect USB peripherals like keyboards and mice, and control your phone using good old-fashioned button-based devices.
And if you've got a HDMI-enabled Xperia, like the Arc or Arc S? Well, that's where things start to get really cool -- in that case, you can browse the web and play Angry Birds on your TV, using any standard USB wireless keyboard and mouse. Proof of this, in video form, is after the jump.
The Xperia Ray quickly piqued our interest when it was announced a few months ago. Up to now, Sony Ericsson smartphones had invariably been constructed of plastic, and while this has its benefits, an aluminum-framed device is always going to be sturdier and feel better in the hand.
We finally got the chance to fondle the Xperia Ray at Sony Ericsson's Xperia Party in London yesterday, and found it to be a worthy mid-to-high-end offering from the manufacturer. It packs all of the premium features of the Xperia Neo, while addressing one of our biggest concerns with that phone -- its looks.
Read on to find out what we thought as we got to grips with the Xperia Ray.
Sprint this morning announced the Kyocera Milano, a phone we outed a week ago in the Sprint Playbook. The Milona looks to be a mid- to low-end Android smartphone, with a 3-inch display, Android 2.3, a 3.2MP camera and slide-out QWERTY keyboard. It weighs 5.6 ounces and has a 1490 mAHh battery, and 512MB of RAM and ROM.
It's also got a battery-saving "Eco Mode," and the Sprint ID custom themes.
The Kyocera Milano will be available Sept. 9 for $49.99 after two-year contract and $50 rebate.
AT&T this morning announced that its version of the Sony Ericsson Xperia Play (see our hands-on) will be available Sept. 18 for a mere $49.99 with two-year contract. The Xperia Play, as you'll recall from our review, is the so-called Playstation phone, with a slide-out gamepad and Playstation-optimized games. It's rocking Android 2.3.3 with a 4-inch screen.
Games included with AT&T's Xperia Play at launch are:
Dungeon Defenders™ Second Wave by Trendy Entertainment
Asphalt™ 6 Adrenaline by Gameloft
Star Battalion by Gameloft
Madden NFL™ 11 by Electronic Arts
The Sims™ 3 by Electronic Arts
Tower Bloxx™: My City by Digital Chocolate
Crash Bandicoot® by SCEA/Naughty Dog/Universal
As if a $49 Xperia Play isn't a good enough deal, AT&T's also sweetening things by throwing in the DK300 Multimedida Dock (check out our review of the dock) and MC100 music cable.
Last night we dropped in on the Sony Ericsson Summer Showcase (aka Xperia Party) in London's Mayfair district, to check out some of the manufacturer's upcoming Android phones. One of the stars of the show was the tiny Xperia Active, a small but ruggedized phone designed for outdoorsy types who don't want to worry about a little dust, dirt or water getting in the way of playing Angry Birds in the middle of a hardcore kayaking session. The Active demo units at the Xperia Party were frequently dunked in nearby glasses of water to demonstrate its water-resistant features, which includes Sony Ericsson's unique "wet finger tracking" tech, allowing touchscreen use even when there's water on the screen.
Join us after the jump for a full run-down of the Xperia Active's features, along with a hands-on video tour and a bunch more photos.
Microsoft this morning announced it has reached licensing agreements with Acer and Viewsonic over the companies' Android devices. Terms of either agreement were not announced, but Viewsonic will pay royalties to Microsoft. No royalties were mentioned in Acer's deal, which could point to some sort of reciprocal licensing.
Microsoft VP of IP and general counsel Horacio Gutierrez issued the following statement in both press releases:
“We are pleased that [Acer/Viewsonic] is taking advantage of our industrywide licensing program established to help companies address Android’s IP issues,” said Horacio Gutierrez, corporate vice president and deputy general counsel of Intellectual Property and Licensing at Microsoft. “This agreement is an example of how industry leaders can reach commercially reasonable arrangements that address intellectual property.”
We've spent some quality time the past few days with the Samsung Vitality from Cricket Communications, and we've come away pleasantly surprised. With the Vitality, you've got a mid-level Android smartphone that's light, thin and surprisingly quick. It's running Android 2.3.4 with the stock user interface, with an 800MHz processor pushing a 3.5-inch display at 320x480 resolution. There's a 3.2MP camera on the back. A dual-core, high-megapixel, high-end phone this is not.
But the raw specs aren't the shining features of the Vitality. Can you believe, unlimited everything for just $65?
Cricket Communications this morning announced the Samsung Vitality -- the first Android smartphone with deep integration of the Muve Music service. Muve itself has been around for a while -- it already has 200,000 users -- but this is the first time it's been built into an Android smartphone.
The Vitality itself is a capable mid-range Android smartphone. Specs include:
3.5-inch display at HVGA (320x480)
3.2MP rear camera
4GB microSD card (3GB for music storage, 1GB for user downloads)
3.5mm headphone jack
Dimensions: 4.6x2.4x.06 inches
Weight: 4.16 ounces
The Samsung Vitality will be available later this month on Cricket for $200 on contract (update: That's outright; Cricket doesn't do contracts). Unlimited data, voice and Muve Music will cost $65. (Yes, you read that right.) Full press release is after the break.
And just like that -- the waiting for the Motorola Droid Bionic is now over for the most part. If you've been holding out to get your hands on one you can now head on over to the Verizon Wireless website and place your order. The buy in cost will set you back $300 with a new two-year contract ($590 without) but for that money you get a 1Ghz TI OMAP4 processor, 1GB of RAM, 16GB of internal storage and a 8MP camera with 1080p HD video recording. Plus, it's 4G LTE equipped and comes loaded with the latest version of Motoblur -- if you're into that stuff. Grabbing one? If so -- let us know in the comments or in the Droid Bionic forums.
With the Motorola Droid Bionichitting Verizon stores for $300, it's only natural for people to be looking for a retailer offering it for less. That is where Costco comes in this time around. They will be letting the Motorola Droid Bionic go for $20 less then Verizon bringing the buy in cost to $280. They'll also be including some bonus accessories to go along with the package but right now -- what, exactly that entails hasn't been confirmed. Anyone going to be hitting up Costco instead of Verizon?
AT&T this morning announced the Huawei Impulse 4G, a low-end entry into Android and AT&T's "4G" market. Available Sept. 18 for just $29.99 on contract, the Impulse 4G is a 3.8-inch device at the usual 480x800 resolution, running Android 2.2. It's got a 5MP camera on the back with autofocus and flash, and it records video in 720p. Data plans start at $15.
Have we mentioned the Motorola Droid Bionic will be available Sept. 8? Oh, good. Because it's now finally officially official. Price is official as well: $299 with a two-year contract.
This has without a doubt been one of the strangest roads to launch for a smartphone in recent memory. The Droid Bionic was initially announced in January at CES (see our hands-on) but was scrapped for revamped hardware, which has been leaked just about every which way since.
Now you're basically getting an LTE version of the Droid X2, with a 4.3-inch qHD display, 1GB of RAM, Android 2.3.4, Motorola's Webtop features, Gorilla Glass, and a 1735 mAh battery, which should help add a little life to the LTE device. Verizon's also staking the Droid Bionic's claim as the thinnest LTE smartphone at 11mm, but that's not as svelte as the new Galaxy S II on Sprint.
Anyhoo, we'll just have to see whether the wait -- and the price -- make it worth it. Full press release is after the break.
HTC has added two additional flavors of EVO 3D to its bootloader unlocking site, following in the footsteps of the Sprint version, which become unlockable last month. If you own an unbranded European EVO 3D, or a Rogers-branded device in Canada, then you can begin your quest by using the web tool over on the HTCDev site.
Unlocking your bootloader will allow you to monkey around with custom firmware and the like, though you'll void your warranty by doing so, even if you use the official HTC unlocking tools. Still interested? Hit the link below to begin.
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