Sony hasn’t been taking it easy since grabbing the Xperia smartphone ship’s tiller from Sony Ericsson last year. Having unveiled a handful of phones in February, Sony has just popped-out another. Sharing the same blocky design as its Xperia-range siblings, the Sony Xperia Sola sits between the Xperia U and higher-end Xperia P – it’s an upper-mid range phone.
The Sony Xperia Sola has a 3.7in 480 x 854 pixel display using the “Reality Display” screen tech seen in the other Xperia phones of 2012. It may sound a little like Apple’s Retina Display branding, but it falls a way behind the screens of the iPhone 4 and 4S, with a now-unremarkable 264dpi pixel density.
A 1GHz dual-core NovaThor processor, made by ST-Ericsson and boasting a decent Mali-400 GPU, powers the Xperia Sola, and there’s a 5-megapixel camera with 720p video recording on the back. It also packs NFC, and the usual Android connectivity gubbins – GPS, HSPA and so on. The Sola comes with 8GB of internal memory, once again falling slap-bang in-between the 16GB Xperia P and 4GB Xperia U.
However, also similar to its Xperia buddies, the Sola will launch running the Android 2.3 Gingerbread OS rather than the now-current 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich version. This version has been around in mobiles since late 2011, with the release of the Samsung Galaxy Nexus, and it’s disappointing to see this phone won’t get the bump up to ICS until Summer.
The delay is likely down to the software tweaks Sony has applied to the interface. “Floating touch” navigation gets top billing here. This is a feature specific to the phone’s browser, and lets you use your finger as a mouse pointer without touching the screen at all. Magic? Probably not – capacitive screens can sense a finger before it touches the screen, and this floating touch feature most likely relies on making the most of this sensitivity. We’ll find out if it’s anything more special at review.
The Sony Xperia Sola will be available from Q2 2012, and comes in black, white and red finishes.