MWC 2011: Sony Ericsson Roundup

Although Mobile World Congress doesn’t kick off until tomorrow, like many of the other trade shows the big players like to do their press events a day or two before. Sony Ericsson just wrapped it’s event, nailing down concrete details on already revealed products as well as busting out a few newbies to the family. Despite it’s squandering market share and abysmal Android upgrade schedule, Sony Ericsson saw blank ink again in its books at the end of 2010 with a €1.1 billion ($1.49 billion) turnaround. Let’s see what they have in store for 2011.

Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc

Announced in CES last month, the Arc is slim 8.7mm at its thinnest point, 117 grams light and is powered by a 1GHz Qualcomm MSM8255 Snapdragon and (surprise surprise) Android 2.3 Gingerbread with Sony Ericsson’s Timescape UI. You may also remember the 4.2 inch “Reality Display” it boasted which is Sony’s answer to Apple’s Retina Display and Samsung’s Super AMOLED, bringing you 16 million colors at a 480×854 resolution. Sony Ericsson claims that its new Mobile Bravia Engine will allow this display to knock the socks off the competition by bringing a brighter and cleaner picture to the phone. Sony’s Exmor R mobile sense also brings you an 8.1 megapixel camera with an f/2.4 lens and an LED flash that can also record 720p at 30fps (see camera comparison shots between the Arc, the iPhone 4, and the Galaxy S here) and built in HDMI out. Bluetooth 2.1 and b/g/n WiFi come standard and so does an 8GB microSD card (expandable to 32GB) to compliment it’s 512MB of internal memory. One thing to be wary of is its 1500 mAh battery which boasts a 400 hour standby and 7 hour talk time over 3G. Rule of thumb on Android devices is to take the manufacturer battery life specs and multiply them by two-thirds, giving you a little over 4.5 hours of actual talk time, something that might be really off-putting for power users. It is scheduled for release in April on GSM carriers worldwide (possibly AT&T in the U.S., UK readers can get it on O2).

Sony Ericsson Xperia Neo

For those who won’t be able to afford the Arc or simply want a more down to earth Android from Sony Ericsson, the Neo is the right mid-market choice. As Engadget claims, “In simple physical terms, you can just feel the difference in (likely future) price between the Neo and it’s more reputed siblings.” Like the Arc, the Neo boasts a 480×854 Bravia Engine powered Reality Display, but this time in a more compact 3.7 inch size. Coming out a little chubbier at 13mm and 126 grams it too will rock a 1GHz Qualcomm MSM8255 Snapdragon and Gingerbread with the Timescape UI. Internal memory is at 320MB but it comes stock with an 8GB microSD installed that is expandable up to 32GB. It also features the same 8.1MP camera as the Arc as well as 720p video recording at 30fps and HDMI out built in. However, in a puzzling move Sony Ericsson chose to include a 2 megapixel front-facing camera with the mid-range Neo but not with the more feature-packed Arc. Hey, at least they’re learning. It could’ve been worse. Most of the other specs and battery are the same as the Arc. This too is a GSM only phone, so expect it on T-Mobile or AT&T if it hits Stateside in the scheduled March release date. UK readers, you can grab it on Orange when it comes out then.

Sony Ericsson Xperia Pro

The Xperia Pro is the Neo’s chubbier twin brother with a slide-out keyboard. The slide out keyboard brought the Pro to 13.5mm thick and 140 grams heavy. Like the Neo it is powered by the same 1Ghz Snapdragon, Gingerbread with Timescape UI, and 320MB of internal memory with an 8GB included microSD that is expandable to 32GB. With the exception of the dimensions and the slide-out keyboard, all the specs are identical to the Neo, including the 8.1 megapixel, 720p@30fps camera and the 2 megapixel front facing camera. However, the release date for this GSM phone is pegged at the end of Q2 2011, around late May or June. It may be speculated that the Pro is Sony Ericsson’s answer to the Motorola Droid series, which lead the market in Android phones with slide-out keyboards.

Sony Ericsson Xperia Play

To absolutely no one’s surprise, the Xperia Play, formerly rumored as the “PlayStation Phone” was officially unveiled today. Exclusively available on Verizon Wireless in March, the Play boasts a 1 GHz Qualcomm MSM8255 Snapdragon processor with an Adreno 205 GPU and Android 2.3 Gingerbread with Timescape UI. The screen is a 4 inch multi-touch 480×584 LCD with no mention of Reality Display in the press release, but Sony Ericsson is claiming a 60fps playback rate. Of the 400MB of internal memory, 380MB will be user available and an 8GB microSD will come included with expandability up to 32GB. Weighing in at 175 grams an 16m thick, the Play has a slide-out PlayStation Certified controller to tackle Apple’s App Store gaming dominance and Windows Phone 7’s Xbox live integration. Pre-loaded on the phone will be a PlayStation marketplace where you can snag all the latest gaming releases from major publishers like EA, SCE, and Gameloft. Sony EricssonPSOne games already pre-loaded into the phone (Crash Bandicoot). The battery is the same 1500 mAh power-plant that is found in the Arc, Neo, and Pro and Sony Ericsson is saying you will squeeze out about 5.5 hours of gaming in one charge. Other specs include a 5.1 megapixel camera with an LED flash and WVGA video recording, b/g/n WiFi, Bluetooth 2.1, and WiFi Hotspot capabilities. This phone is also a world phone, meaning it has CDMA and GSM capabilities built in so with the help of the developer community, switching over to T-Mobile or AT&T will eventually be possible.

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