Mar 13 AT 12:18 PM Edgar Cervantes 19 Comments

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

xperia sola featured

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.

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.

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.

1_Xperiasola_black_front 2_Xperiasola_black_sidehoriz 3_Xperiasola_black_left 4_Xperiasola_black_back 5_Xperiasola_black_group 8_SmartTags_Group 9_SmartTags_Bedroom_PIU 10_SmartTags_Car_PIU xperia sola featured

Source: Sony

Hello, I am Edgar Cervantes. I am an avid Android fan, and keeping myself updated on the topic is part of my daily life. I will always work hard to give the best of me to our community of Android enthusiasts, and I am very honored to be part of this ship. Hopefully we can all enjoy sharing our knowledge and opinions!

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  • josegb2011

    The phone itself is beautiful but that float touch thing seems like the selling point to me.
    Sony is using the old nogging

    • LukeT32

      I remember people complaining about there screen recognizing touches when they didn’t actually touch the screen on some other devices (Samsung I think).

  • cwjones4

    sony is really upping their game! i would be intrigued to see how all of this works in person if these phones hit state-side

  • apo

    Floating touch is nothing new, it was already announced in the new Vega pantech device in Korea .
    However the phone seems interesting

  • oddball

    The smart tags are the interesting bit for me. It seems like it would be easier than tasker for people like my wife who are technologically impaired but need smart phones for their jobs

    • LukeT32

      Any NFC enabled phone can do this. They are several retailers that sell the tags and allow you to choose them for different functions.

      • PGrGr

        Yes. I’ve looked into this for my SGNexus, and concluded its just not worth it. By the time you’ve unlocked your phone, activated the NFC reading app, and touched the phone to the tag, you may as well have just done whatever you were going to do manually. It’s another nice gimmick, but I just don’t think it’s going to work as a massive effort saver.

  • Josh

    I would definitely go for this phone if the rest of the specs weren’t so generic :(

  • Hall Lo

    such a beautiful design >___< too bad the specs are just average or this would be my next fone!

  • Frank | androidnext
    • Eli

      Lol, nothing like shamelessly advertising your own site on someone else’s, right?

  • AljNtEeL1

    I think no ICS will come soon to any of experia phones. Sony tends to produce different phones running old OS. They seem only busy with how to produce as many phone as they can. Their upgrade always come very late.

  • aranea

    Though floating touch seems interesting I don’t think it’s going to be useful. Try moving your finger above your phone. It’s much harder than sliding it on the glass.

    The only thing that’s interesting on this phone is the NFC support but that can come to other phones really easily.

  • spazby

    I would have to try it first, it just doesn’t seem to be useful – I would actually prefer a lower lag touch screen…

  • Nathan D.

    Nice feature but it not going to be my next phone though.

  • Anirban

    Hey it doesnt have a Front cam…bt in the official SONY site it says in features “Gtalk with Video Chat”!!!
    see under pre-loaded applications :O

  • indra

    is xperia sola have a front camera?

  • Monster Beats Turbine Earphones

    The smart tags are the interesting bit for me. Beats By Dr. Dre Studio HD Yellow Monster Headphones

  • deeapk sharon

    actually i wann 2 kno weather it as feature called nfc in it………can any 1 plz helpp me