Sony A Tablet Coming Soon?

June 11th, 2012

As I spoke with the sales rep of the Sony flagship store in Century City about the Xperia ion today, I also learned of the upcoming release of an “A Tablet.” At the time the rep mentioned this I was trying to remember any news of a new tablet. The only thing I could think of was the rumored V150, as referenced by the Xperia Blog and Engadget. There were some tablet-shaped Vaio computers on display at CES as well, so the A Tablet could very well be one of those.

I think the V150 is the more likely option. Unfortunately, the date mentioned eludes me, as my primary inquiry was about the Xperia ion and this was welcome, yet unexpected news. It was either at the end of this month, or within a few months. Sony has already indicated an intention to release additional tablets, so an upcoming successor to the Tablet S would make sense. I have had a great experience with my Tablet S, so I am looking forward to seeing what else Sony has in the works. I am sure we will be hearing more about it soon enough, so be sure to check back here for information. If you have any information, feel free to let me know in the comments.

Xperia ion Coming to AT&T by June 24

June 10th, 2012

Xperia ion

The Xperia ion is finally on its way to the United States, having made stops in Taiwan and Hong Kong already. After six long months, the ion is nearly here.

Today I was in Sony’s flagship store in Century City, CA. Every time I find myself in a Sony store I make a point to ask for any information on the release of the ion. Today I was pleasantly surprised to learn of the imminent launch. The sales rep I spoke to said that it would be released the weekend after Father’s Day. The sales rep was restricted from telling me the specific date, but did tell me that it would be either Friday, Saturday, or Sunday of that week. This was in store, and not a pre-order date. The sales rep said I could walk in and pick the phone up that weekend. This, and another prediction I saw regarding the release date both added up to an in store date of June 24 at the latest.

As we talked, the sales rep went on to say that one of the reasons for the delay was a desire on Sony’s part to release the ion with Ice Cream Sandwich. If this is true, and if they succeeded, the ion may be coming out with Android 4 after all. This would go a long way to silence the dissenters who have so far only griped about the operating system on an otherwise outstanding phone.

Excited as I was upon receiving this information, I looked for any other reference to the 24th. I only found a Twitter comment by Sony about a surprise they have in store for us on June 11. See the tweet here. A lot of speculation so far has been regarding either an Xperia Play 2, or a major improvement to the number of games in the PlayStation Network for Android. I am wondering if this will instead be the pre-order date for the Xperia ion. We will know soon enough.

With the customs delay of the HTC One X and the only recent release of Samsung’s Galaxy S III, I think the Xperia ion will be able to make a very large splash in the coming weeks. Until then, at least we know the wait is nearly over.

Sony Xperia Ion Coming to AT&T In Q2

January 17th, 2012

Xperia ion

Sony announced several new phones at CES last week, destined for various parts of the world. North America is getting the Xperia ion by way of AT&T. The ion is similar to the Xperia S which has been named as the 2012 flagship product. There are a few differences between the ion and S though, so I will talk about the S separately. Here are the ion specs:

  • Android 2.3 (Gingerbread), upgrading to Ice Cream Sandwich soon
  • 4.55″ 16 million colour 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 and GSM /EDGE 850/900/1800/1900 bands
  • LTE 700MHz and 1700MHz and UMTS HSPA+ 850MHz, 1900MHz and 2100Mhz
  • Mobile BRAVIA Engine
  • NFC enabled
  • ANT+ enabled
  • 12MP camera with Sony Exmor R CMOS sensor for low light, supports 1080p video
  • 1.3 MP front-facing camera, supports 720p video
  • Transfer Content through DLNA, HDMI and BRAVIA Sync
  • PlayStation Certified

Where to start, here? This looks like the rumored Xperia duo we had been hearing about over the last few months. At 4.55″, this is a very large phone. A dual-core processor brings Sony into the modern phone era, though its competitors are already releasing their next-generation phones. Sony has some catching up to do, and this phone looks like it is off to a good start. Of note, the image sports the Sony logo, rather than Sony Ericsson. There is a note about the name pending regulatory approval, but Sony is planning to release this phone sans-Ericsson.

At 12MP, the camera will be hard to beat. Sony is advertising that it can go from standby to ready to shoot in less than 2 seconds. I am looking forward to seeing this in action. The Xperia X10 was a little slow on that front. Sony is gunning for Apple with this feature. Apple had spent a lot of time playing up the speedy camera feature. Sony’s video camera finally supports 1080p, and throws in 720p for the front-facing camera. I would have liked to see more than 1.5MP on the front-facing camera, but it should be more than sufficient for self portraits.

As with most Sony devices coming out these days, the phone is PlayStation Certified. There is already a pretty respectable list of Xperia Play games available, so if the ion can tap into this, it will be off to a good start. The Tablet S is still waiting for additional games, so it will be interesting to see whether the Xperia ion takes after the phones or tablets for PlayStation support.

Sony is offering a substantial 16GB of internal phone storage, and the microSD slot can support an additional 32GB. Whether you are using this phone for gaming or photography, you should be well-set in the memory department. With 48GB available, you should be able to do quite a bit of both.

Learning a valuable lesson from the Tablet S, Sony is including HDMI support in addition to DLNA. Not all users have DLNA devices, so Sony will be able to reach more customers who do have HDMI-enabled devices.

The Xperia ion is NFC enabled, which means it will support Sony’s new NFC tags, and can support Android Ice Cream Sandwich’s DLNA features.

Sony’s Xperia ion will be available at AT&T in the second quarter of this year, with some rumors hinting about the end of March. There is no word on pricing, or a solid release date.