Posts Tagged ‘Android’

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

Thursday, June 14th, 2012

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.

AT&T Prepping for Xperia ion?

Tuesday, June 12th, 2012

I was searching for any current news about the Xperia ion from Sony, and found a link to AT&T’s website. I followed the link to a product page featuring a case for the ion. The product is the DualTek Rugged White/Gray Case, priced at $40. With an in-store release date no later than June 24 seeming increasingly likely, the fact that this product is on AT&T’s site is encouraging.

Interestingly, searching for ion on the AT&T site will only provide results for lithium-ion batteries. The case does not show up in the search results. It could be that Google is indexing things early, as with the initial June release announcement, or it may simply be new enough that AT&T’s search feature has not fully indexed the site.

One of Sony’s best features is the camera. Motorola is about to release a phone (Atrix 3 perhaps?) with a 13MP camera, so Sony would do well to release this 12.1MP camera phone in advance, and quickly follow up with the U.S. version of the Xperia GX, which also features a 13MP camera. It would not be good to let Motorola cut in on Sony’s primary differentiating feature.

I am looking forward to trying out the ion, and seeing how well it does against the competition. It looks it won’t be too much longer until I get the chance. Are you interested in the ion, or are you holding out for Sony’s next generation? Let me know in the comments.

Sony Xperia Ion Coming to AT&T In Q2

Tuesday, 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.