Sony has today revealed the Xperia Sola, a new 3.7-inch Android smartphone similar to the Xperia P and Xperia U, which were unveiled a couple of months ago. If you've been following the rumors over the past few months, you'll recognize this as the MT27i "Pepper".
The Xperia Sola is packing a brand new technology called "floating touch", which allows the screen to sense when there's a finger hovering over it. The main use case highlighted by the manufacturer is web browsing -- on the Xperia Sola, users will be able hold their finger over a web page like a cursor, before touching the screen to select. It's an interesting concept, but we'll have to spend some time with the device before we're completely sold on it.
The Xperia Sola also sports a different profile to most of Sony's other 2012 smartphones. There's no clear element near the bottom of the device, and the screen protrudes from the base, likely due to whatever extra tech Sony's crammed in behind it to facilitate that "floating touch" feature.
Internally, the Xperia Sola closely matches the Xperia P -- there's a 1GHz dual-core ST-Ericsson chip inside, a 3.7-inch "Reality Display", and all of Sony's usual software stuff on top of Android 2.3 Gingerbread (an update to ICS is promised for "Summer 2012"). You also get NFC support, which lets you use Sony's "SmartTags" to automate certain tasks when they're in range.
The Xperia Solai will launch globally in black, white and red during the second quarter of the year. We've got today's full press release, alongside some introductory videos, after the jump.
More: Xperia Sola gallery
YouTube link for mobile viewing
13 March, London, United Kingdom – Sony Mobile Communications today announced Xperia™ sola* as the latest addition to its portfolio of Android powered Xperia smartphones. Complete with Sony technology, premium entertainment and innovative floating touch™ navigation, the NFC enabled Xperia sola comes equipped with Xperia SmartTags, allowing consumers to change their smartphone’s settings and applications to fit their lifestyle in an instant. Xperia sola will be available to consumers globally in black, white and red in the second quarter.
A floating touch of magic
Making its smartphone debut exclusively on Xperia sola, Sony’s unique floating touch lets consumers navigate the web by hovering their finger above the screen so it acts like a moving curser, without actually having to touch the screen. Once the desired link is found it can be highlighted and a simple tap will load the page. Floating touch will evolve with new user functionality and applications through software updates and engagement with developers.
Calum MacDougall, Head of Xperia Marketing for Sony Mobile Communications, commented; “Xperia sola comes with the power of Sony and a sense of magic with floating touch, giving consumers a fun new way to browse the web and latest technology to show off. With Xperia SmartTags out of the box and access to the latest content through Sony Entertainment Network, Xperia sola is perfect for consumers looking for ease of use and the best in entertainment in a smart and innovative smartphone.”
Simplify the everyday with SmartTags
Xperia sola is NFC enabled and comes with two NFC Xperia SmartTags in the box as standard to simplify consumers’ everyday smartphone experiences. By touching an NFC Android smartphone on a SmartTag, a pre-configured profile in the smartphone will launch. The two SmartTags included with Xperia sola can be personalized with up to 10 commands. Out of the box they are ready for the living room to turn on Wi-Fi™ and launches Google™ news and weather apps, or for the bedroom, which turns on the alarm and switches to silent mode. Xperia sola supports NFC pairing, allowing consumers to enjoy great connectivity with other NFC smartphones, applications and services by tapping their smartphones together.
Powerful entertainment anytime, anywhere
Xperia sola boasts razor sharp clarity with Reality Display powered by Mobile BRAVIA® Engine, xLOUD™ and 3D surround sound audio technology delivering crisp and loud sound, and a 1GHz dual-core processor for super fast performance. Xperia sola also comes with fast capture to take the camera from sleep to snap in a little over a second with a single key press.
Consumers can also access premium entertainment experiences with Sony Entertainment Network**, where they can watch the latest Hollywood blockbusters on Video Unlimited or listen to millions of songs*** through Music Unlimited.
Key features for Xperia sola
• Floating touch navigation for an easy web browsing experience
• NFC enabled and Xperia SmartTags in the box to enable quick app loading and easy content sharing
• 3.7” Reality Display with Mobile BRAVIA Engine gives razor sharp clarity
• Powered by a 1GHz dual-core processor for super fast browsing
• xLOUD and 3D surround sound audio technology for crisp and loud listening
• Direct access to Sony Entertainment Network* with pre-installed Video and Music Unlimited** apps
• Launches on Android platform 2.3, upgrade to Android 4.0 during summer 2012