Android and Me

Magical Sony Xperia Sola unveiled; “floating touch,” NFC “SmartTags”

3 years ago 19

Sony was expected to unveil three devices at MWC last month. According to a leaked roadmap, the Japanese manufacturer was releasing three smartphones this April. Only two made it to the stage in Barcelona (Xperia P and Xperia U). But here comes the third one, which has just been announced by Sony. The Sony Xperia Sola.

This is the same device (code named the Xperia “Pepper”) we saw in yesterday’s leaked official image. But we didn’t think an announcement would come so quickly. It’s a good looking smartphone. Albeit, it has some differences from from the other Sony devices released recently.

It is lacking that translucent bar at the bottom, which you may love or hate. It also has a bit of a raised screen, which may make the device prone to bad scratches. And many are complaining about the rather large space below the capacitive buttons; this could have been utilized for something else.

But that’s all aesthetics, and hence, based on personal preference. If you’re more focused on functionality, Sony has a couple of new features up its sleeve.

Floating Touch

The most interesting is “Floating Touch.” This feature allows the user to navigate and browse without directly touching the screen. In the video demonstration, the user need only to hover and move his finger above the screen to interact with it.

Sure, it sounds a bit gimicky. But If you hate leaving fingerprints on your screen, this might be a good move. Sony will continue to work with developers, so this feature will be evolving with time.

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NFC SmartTags

NFC has been around in Android devices since the Samsung Nexus S was released. But it’s a feature that, to date, hasn’t completely taken off. Sony is taking it to the next level by introducing SmartTags and including two of them with your NFC-supported Xperia Sola.

Settings and actions can be pre-configured and executed upon tapping on the SmartTags. For example, hang one in the car and set it up so that GPS turns on and navigation is opened. This is just one example; you can do whatever you want with them.

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Sony Xperia Sola Specifications

  • Android 2.3 (“Upgradeable” to Android 4.0)
  • 1 GHz dual-core processor
  • 3.7-inch Reality Display with Mobile BRAVIA Engine (854x480p)
  • 8 GB of internal storage / microSD slot supports cards of up to 32 GB
  • 5 MP camera capable of 720p HD recording
  • 1,320 mAh battery

As expected, the Xperia Sola followed the Xperia P and U’s footsteps by featuring Android 2.3 Gingerbread instead of Ice Cream Sandwich. But the Android 4.0 update should be coming in the “near future.” The specs are good, but not great. It has a small screen (which you may like), and the rest is what we are used to seeing in most mid-range devices.

Sad news is that the device does not come with a front-facing camera, as you may have noticed. While many of us don’t really use the front shooter, it has become an expected feature for smartphones nowadays. But if you don’t care too much for the downsides and love the new features, the device should be released during Q2 2012.

Let’s stay tuned for more details. What you think? Do the new features sound cool? Personally, it would be cool to have access to SmartTags. I could think of many ways to use them.

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