AT&T Announces the Xperia ion for $99 on June 24

Xperia ion

As I reported here on this blog on June 10, the Xperia ion is coming to AT&T on June 24. AT&T formally announced the Xperia ion with a solid release date and a price tag. The Xperia ion will be available for $99 with contract and requires a data plan. This is a full $100 less than comparable phones from Samsung and HTC. For $99, the ion is priced to sell, and Sony hopes to capture a larger share of the Android market in the United States, where it has been largely overlooked.

My source told me the other day that they hoped to release the phone with Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS), which contributed to the delayed launch. There was no mention of ICS in the press release, so it looks like it will indeed be released with Gingerbread. I would expect the upgrade to come soon however, especially knowing that the upgrade is already in the works. The version of Android aside, this phone is very able to compete in the high-end phone market. Here is a review of the specs:

  • 4.6″ 16 million color TFT display, with a resolution of 1280×720 pixels
  • 1.5GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon S3 MSM8260 dual-core processor
  • Adreno 220 GPU
  • 1GB RAM
  • 16GB eMMC internal memory
  • microSD up to 32GB
  • Supports UMTS/HSPA+ 850/1900/2100, GSM/EDGE 850/900/1800/1900 bands, and LTE Band IV and Band XVII
  • HD Reality Display, with Mobile BRAVIA Engine
  • xLOUD audio filter
  • Bluetooth enabled
  • NFC enabled
  • ANT+ enabled
  • 12.1MP camera with Sony Exmor R CMOS sensor for low light, supports 1080p video
  • 1.3 MP front-facing camera, supports 720p video
  • Camera Features: LED Flash, Auto Focus, 16X Digital Zoom, 3D Sweep Panorama mode, and Face Detection
  • Transfer Content through DLNA, HDMI and BRAVIA Sync
  • 1500 mAh Battery
  • PlayStation Certified

This phone should do pretty well against the Samsung Galaxy S III and the HTC One X. The Galaxy has a larger battery and Gorilla Glass, and HTC has a larger battery. They are otherwise quite comparable. Sony does have a lot more at stake than the other two manufacturers, at least in the United States. This will mark the beginning of Sony’s solo comeback run, having bought out Ericsson’s stake in Sony Ericsson.

Sony has a lot of catching up to do, particularly in mind share. People need to think of Sony when they think of Android, rather than Samsung, Motorola, or HTC. The Xperia ion is certainly a move in the right direction. AT&T has not done so well historically in getting the word out about Sony Ericsson phones. Hopefully Sony’s marketing department will be up to the task.

You can learn more about the Xperia ion at Sony Store or at the Sony Mobile page.

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