The Smartphone Wars have been waging for years now as various manufacturers seek dominion over a choice-ridden and crowded market. The major forces to date have been Apple, with their iPhone and proprietary iOS software, and Android powered manufacturers HTC and Samsung with their sleek, desirable handset offerings.
iOS and Android saw off Palm after their disappointing Palm Pre running WebOS, and the once-mighty Nokia is making a bold, and some might say optimistic, attempt at a resurgence by abandoning Symbian and attacking with its Windows powered Lumia series.
But the surprising new player in 2012 might just turn out to be Sony.
Sony Ericsson phones were a common sight in the pre-smart era before the iPhone. Their recent Xperia smartphone range, whilst not quite making the same amount of noise as HTC or Samsung in the Android space, was certainly not to be dismissed.
Sony bought out Ericsson’s stake in the partnership in late 2011 and has busied itself with re-vamping the Xperia offering.
At the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona this year they launched the first Sony only smartphone, the Xperia S. Sporting a 4.3in screen, NFC capability with smart tags and a whopping 12 megapixel camera, it ships with Android 2.3 with an upgrade to ICS/4.0 due imminently. The chaps over at CoolSmartphone have a pretty comprehensive, hands-on Sony Xperia S review that I definitely recommend you check out if you’re in the market for an Android upgrade.
Sony – or, to give them their proper post-Ericsson name, Sony Mobile Communications – are taking their re-entry to the smartphone market seriously and hot on the heels of the Xperia S comes its little brother, the Xperia Sola, announced yesterday.
In their press release, they call the Sola the “smartphone with a sense of magic”. A “sense” of magic? Surely a “touch” of magic?
Well, no, actually. Because – and I LOVE this – it’s not a touch-screen, it’s a don’t-touch-screen! Seriously. According to the press release this phone has “‘floating touch’ navigation for magic web browsing without touching the screen.”
Making its smartphone debut exclusively on Xperia sola, Sony’s unique floating touch lets consumers navigate the web by hovering their finger above the screen so it acts like a moving cursor, without actually having to touch the screen. Once the desired link is found it can be highlighted and a simple tap will load the page. Floating touch will evolve with new user functionality and applications through software updates and engagement with developers.
Here, check out the Xperia Sola’s rather sexy launch video:
These new Xperia models have me excited about Sony phones again, with innovations like floating touch and the NFC smart-tags I really think 2012 could be Xperia’s year. My upgrade is due in June, and unless the Galaxy S3 makes a surprise appearance, or at least announces around about then, I think I’ll be swapping my old HTC Desire for a new Sony model.
Is 2012 the year Sony makes its smartphone comeback? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.