Sony Ericsson may still be plastered on the front of the new smartphones which are being debuted at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) this week, but all of the promotional material is keen to point out that the ‘Ericsson’ part of the brand will be dropped before these mobiles hit the market later in the year.
As such, two new high end Sony-only smartphones, the Xperia S and the Xperia Ion, are on the cards for launch in the UK in 2012.
The Xperia S and Xperia Ion are actually largely identical in terms of hardware, with the latter being a US exclusive, while the former is a worldwide edition, which will probably end up on our shores.
Onboard you get a 1.5GHz dual core processor, a 4.3 inch screen and a 12 megapixel camera which can record 1080p video clips. The display has a resolution of 1280×700, making it one of a growing number of high definition handsets to emerge at CES 2012.
Sony has been on the ball when it comes to marketing the new Xperia handsets as photography-focused and it has pointed out that you will be ready to take a picture just a second and a half after unlocking the Xperia S/Ion.
Picture snapping will not be the only strong point of these handsets as they will also have NFC (Near Field Communication) chips onboard, allowing users to make contactless payments when out and about via services like Google Wallet.
Interestingly, the Xperia S and Ion will not actually launch with Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich and users will instead have to wait until Sony launches an update including this spanking new operating system, later in the year. Android 2.3 will be preinstalled on both models, which means it will be several weeks at the least before the full potential of the high end hardware is unlocked.
As a kind of trade-off, you do at least get PlayStation Certification when you pick up the Xperia S or Ion. This is Sony’s attempt to compete with Microsoft, which has made its Xbox Live service a core function of all Windows Phone 7 handsets.
PlayStation Certification is not available on many Sony Ericsson/Sony models at the moment, but this could all change as time goes on. It could also explain the lack of Android 4.0, as Sony will doubtlessly be working to adapt its PlayStation platform for Google’s latest software.
UK users will be able to pick up the Sony Xperia S from March, although at the moment there is no indication as to just how much you will need to pay in order to own this smartphone.
It may not have a quad core processor, but its specifications are otherwise right up there with the best of the rest, so a hefty asking price would be no big surprise. We can only hope that with Sony going it alone in terms of branding, its smartphone sales will not be affected.
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