I’m sure most Xperia Sola owners are focused on the part of this where they get Ice Cream Sandwich, but I’m actually more interested in the addition of “glove mode.”
This new feature utilizes Sony’s existing “Floating touch” technology introduced with the Sola. Floating touch allows you to highlight links in the browser without having to actually touch the screen and while that is a neat trick I don’t know that it was going to sell anyone on the Sola.
Glove mode on the other hand could be a tremendous benefit for folks that live in less balmy climates. As a Wisconsin resident there’s a good 3-4 months out of the year that gloves are basically a necessity and as a daily bike commuter they are critical for me even a bit beyond that.
As you can see in the demo video below the addition of glove mode should allow you to peck at your screen regardless of the thickness of your gloves. It is triggered by default when you unlock the phone while wearing a glove which is clever since having to leave it on or navigate somewhere to turn it on would negate the convenience of it.
In glove mode a cursor ring will show you where the touch is being registered so you aren’t aimlessly poking around. If you decide to pull a glove off the screen will register your touch as normal so no need to disable it, although that’s just a matter of unlocking the phone again with your bare finger.
It is your finger inside the glove and not the glove itself that is being registered so this will still be far more accurate and responsive than the old resistive screens that some of us remember.
I realize this will break mostly across geographic boundaries, but does anyone else find glove mode compelling? Clearly the core feature set of the phone needs to be there, but as it gets harder and harder to differentiate your hardware I could see this being a tipping point feature for some.