Post IFA, Sony Ericsson decided to hold a Summer Showcase in London to demonstrate a selection of their recently announced products. Dialaphone popped down to gets some hands on action with the three forthcoming phones on show, the first of which was the flagship arc S, which looked very smart in glossy white livery. Sony Ericsson were particularly keen to show the speedy 1.4GHz processor in action and tout the arc both as a replacement to your digital camera and potentially your home computer!
Sony Ericsson has always made some great camera phones, benefiting in the past from Sony technology like Cyber-shot, and now Exmor-R, but with some clever software the latest Xperia arc S can capture 3D images using a single rather than the usual dual camera set up on devices like the LG Optimus 3D or HTC EVO 3D. The device also lets users record panoramic video sweeps in either 2D or 3D. Video functionality is equally as impressive and there’s also an option to record so that clips fit on a TV with a 16:9 aspect ratio, or a standard 4:3 format (and that processor certainly delivers, crunching the complex image processing of a 3D image in a matter of seconds).
Showing stuff on the big screen is actually quite easy with the arc S as there’s an HDMI out, but for an enhanced experience there’s the LiveDock. This handy accessory is expected to ship in October with a price point of around £40 and allows you to hook up a variety of Xperia phones to your big screen via HDMI as well as to a charger and a variety of peripherals. In the showcase, Sony Ericsson had an arc S connected up to a wireless keyboard and mouse to surf the internet, but it could easily be a PlayStation 3-style controller for high quality gaming on an Xperia Play.
Second up was the slender all-aluminium Xperia Ray. For a phone that only measures 111x53x9.4mm it’s a surprisingly powerful piece of kit. Sporting a 1GHz Snapdragon processor, the compact 3.3-inch touch screen benefits from the Reality Display and BRAVIA Mobile Engine technology for smooth video playback and an enhanced browsing experience. There’s an 8.1 megapixel camera too. While it benefits from Sony’s Exmor R tech for low-light image capture, the prototype we played with didn’t support 3D imaging, as it was only flashed with Gingerbread 2.3.3 firmware, but could benefit from the clever imaging upgrade at a later date with the 2.3.4 firmware release.
Taking a leaf out of the Motorola DEFY’s book, the Xperia Active handsets on demonstration were being dunked in to our drinks to show off dust and water resistance capabilities. Presumably it matches the Motorola’s IP67 rating as it is claimed you can have your Active submersed in water for up to 30 minutes and it will survive unscathed. The 3-inch touch screen display benefits from ‘wet finger tracking’ too so you can use the phone comfortably in the rain without having to continuously wipe down the display.
As the name suggests, the Active was designed with the sporty in mind, and the preloaded apps that range from the ANT+ heart rate monitoring to iMapMyFitness back this up. Add in a range of inbox accessories such as detachable ear hooks for the wired headset, and a choice of arm band or lanyard wrist strap and the look is complete.
Best news of all from the showcase was that all 2011 Xperia phones will be compatible for the latest Ice Cream Sandwich OS when it becomes available towards the end of this year.