Sony, you really confuse me sometimes. The US is just about to get the Xperia Ion on AT&T, supposedly the Sony-branded flagship smartphone. The problem is that the Xperia GX just took that crown from the Ion - before it even came out. I'm not sure what Sony's grand master plan here is, but looking from the outside in, it seems like the company (that lost $5.7 billion last year - most of it in the fourth quarter alone) is flying completely and utterly blind.
Sony got into the Android smartphone game way back in 2009, with the announcement of the Xperia X10.
Sony completed its $1.47 billion acquisition of Sony Ericsson today, launching an aptly-named venture, Sony Mobile Communications. The Japanese conglomerate stated the official goal of Sony Mobile Communications in a statement announcing the transaction back in October:
The transaction gives Sony an opportunity to rapidly integrate smartphones into its broad array of network-connected consumer electronics devices - including tablets, televisions and personal computers - for the benefit of consumers and the growth of its business. The transaction also provides Sony with a broad intellectual property (IP) cross-licensing agreement covering all products and services of Sony as well as ownership of five essential patent families relating to wireless handset technology.
In a Google+ post earlier today, CyanogenMod announced that CM7 support had arrived for multiple new devices, throwing out a special hint to Xperia users.
For those not familiar, a "nightly" is a brand new released, built on a daily (or nightly) basis with a day's worth of new code. Often times, new features contained in nightly updates may be unstable or not fully tested.
Back in 2001, Sony joined forces with Ericsson to push out a new line of mobile phones, while keeping its current line of game devices, media players, and other electronics a separate entity altogether. Now, Sony is looking to buy Ericsson out in order to streamline all of its mobile technologies into one market, allowing one unified ecosystem across all devices.
According to the Wall Street Journal, "Sony aims to integrate its smartphone operation with its business in tablets, hand-held game machines, and personal computers to save on costs and better synchronize development of mobile devices."
While it's unclear how much the transaction will cost Sony, it's said that the deal is nearing completion at this time.
Sony Ericsson just dropped a press release announcing that the Xperia arc would be available for purchase in the U.S. beginning in August. On the upside, it will be available through Amazon, Newegg, Buy.com, and through Sony directly. On the downside, they give no mention of the device coming to any carrier, and the unsubsidized price is a whopping $600.
Though the arc presents an enticing exterior, the innards aren't so much so:
Android 2.3 (Gingerbread)
1GHz Scorpion CPU (MSM8255, same as the fairly dated Desire HD and myTouch 4G)
Update: Now with video goodness. In fact, you can watch Maria Sharapova (don't get too excited) talk about the Xperia Active. And hey, she knows about active lifestyle phones, because she's sporty.
Catch the other videos about the Ray (here, and here) and the Active (here). You know, if you want. Also, the word "lifestyle" was definitely used in describing the design of the Ray. I felt queasy.
Today at CommunicAsia (we've never heard of it, either) Sony-Ericsson announced two additions to the Android-powered Xperia line of smartphones: the Ray and Active. Both phones are niche sort of "lifestyle" devices, and will probably be marketed more heavily in Japan than the rest of the world.
They may have publicly stated that the Xperia X10 wouldn't be receiving further Android updates just a few months ago, but it looks like Sony Ericsson has had a change of heart: they now say the phone will receive an update to Android 2.3.3 (Gingerbread) sometime in late Q2 or early Q3. You can apparently thank the Xperia PLAY, arc, and neo, as the company says similarities in development of these devices has made it easier to bring the update to the X10.
Unfortunately, there's a catch - the update will only be available for "generic trade kits." In other words:
Today, XperiaTMX10 is available in the market both in generic trade version and in versions customized for operators.
It seems the blogosphere is abuzz with the news that an EU trademark for the name Xperia Play has been awarded to Sony Ericsson, filed the first of the month.
Companies file for trademarks a lot, so we'll see if this name pans out. If it does, it'll quite possibly be the worst marketing decision by Sony Ericsson yet, and may indicate that the Sony mother-ship wants to reserve the Playstation phone name for a later, cooler, probably proprietary-OS device. So, you may actually want this rumor not to be true.
Bert Nordberg, the CEO of Sony Ericsson, told the Wall Street Journal in a recent interview that “there’s a lot of smoke, and I tell you there must be a fire somewhere” when asked about the PlayStation phone rumors and leaks. Nordberg also said that Sony Ericsson plans to "make a lot of noise" with a new product at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona in February 2011. Could this be the famed PlayStation phone? Possibly.
Nordberg also stated in the interview that there are some major challenges in developing a gaming-oriented smartphone. Overall, the toughest part seems to be securing rights from game developers.
Just about a week after Sony Ericsson's latest plaything was first leaked, Mobile-Review's Martin Elm has gotten his greedy hands on the device, and frankly, his initial impressions make the phone seem seriously underwhelming.
Rather than making a truly competitive high-end device, SE appears to have taken the original X10, which never sold well to begin with, and tweaked it here and there without making any major changes.
On the hardware front, Sony Ericsson's bumped the camera's megapixel count from eight to twelve, although Mobile-Review found that the prototype they handled was limited to taking stills at 3MP, with the maximum resolution for video being 325x288.