news Sony’s new Android smartphone, the Xperia S is set to launch early April in Australia through all major mobile carriers, the company announced yesterday.
Introduced globally at the International Consumer Electronics Show in February 2012, the Xperia S is Sony’s first handset without the Ericsson tag (Sony ended its partnership with Ericsson mid-February, and is now Sony Mobile Communications).
The black version of the handset will be available for Optus customers from early April. From April 11th the Xperia S will be available in white at Vodafone outlets, and in black and white at Crazy John’s. The black Xperia S will also be available at retailers JB Hi-Fi, Dick Smith Electronics, Allphones, Telechoice, and Harvey Norman, though the launch dates and pricing would be announced later.
The first of the Xperia NXT series, the Xperia S can be connected to a TV, smartphone, laptop or tablet, via HDMI, to use/enjoy and share content. The handset features a 1.5GHz dual-core processor; a 4.3 inch 720p HD Reality display with Mobile Bravia Engine; a rapid 12 megapixel rear camera that take shots in 1.5 seconds from standby mode, an Exmor R sensor, and a front-facing camera that records in 720p for video calls; and 32GB of eMMC Flash memory, among other features. The Xperia S runs Google’s Android 2.3 (Gingerbread) operating system, upgradable to Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich). The phone also has access to the Sony Entertainment Network and Video Unlimited.
The Xperia S is also Near Field Communication or NFC-enabled, so consumers can enjoy a growing number of NFC applications for mobile payments. The system works through a set of tags, the Xperia SmartTags, which can be customized. When the handset is swiped past an Xperia SmartTag, the specific settings in the SmartTag get launched. Packed into 128 x 64 x 10.6mm, the handset weighs 144g.
John Featherstone, managing director, Sony Mobile Communications Oceania said: “We’re truly excited that Xperia S, our first Sony smartphone, is hitting Aussie stores,” adding: “People can experience for themselves how the unique Sony experience can bring a world of entertainment to life.” Featherstone said that the Xperia S was designed to let consumers use their creativity to drive connected experiences that interested and excited them.
Optus has already announced its contract plan pricing. Business and consumer customers can avail themselves of the $49 Optus Cap Plan, with $0 upfront handset repayment, over 24 months, at a minimum total cost of $1176. Consumer customers on the $49 Optus Cap Plan would receive $550 of included value, 1.5GB mobile data and unlimited access to social networking, and Business customers would receive unlimited voicemail access within Australia, plus free intra-fleet calls to other Optus services on the same account. Optus can could get their handsets from select Yes Optus stores, or order online from early April.
There hasn’t been much fanfare around the lunch of the Xperia S, but Sony’s Xperia series has always had a stellar design, and I love the way this new handset looks. With solid specifications to match, it will be very interesting to see what reviewers think of it. In addition, the Xperia S is pretty competitively priced — through Optus at zero dollars upfront on a $49 plan. Another tasty handset to hit the market, alongside a plethora of tasty handsets :)
Image credit: Sony. Opinion/analysis by Renai LeMay