CommunicAsia 2011 - Sony Ericsson


Sony Ericsson Expands Xperia and Smart Extras Portfolios

Sony Ericsson Expands Xperia and Smart Extras portfolios

On the heels of its successful line of Xperia devices, Sony Ericsson boosted its offerings with the release of the Xperia ray and Xperia active. It is noteworthy to mention that these two devices are among the few but growing numbers of phones in the market running the latest Android 2.3 Gingerbread OS. In addition, the company also announced two Smart Extra accessories that aim to enhance the overall Android user experience. Sony Ericsson also took the chance to launch a feature phone, txt. Join us below as we check out these devices.

Sony Ericsson Xperia ray

What impressed us upon holding the Xperia ray in our hands is its slim aluminum chassis. Measuring just 9.4mm, it is much thicker than the sleek Xperia arc which was launched earlier this year. Nonetheless, the featherlight weight of 100g reinforced the reputation of market leading design that Sony Ericsson is well-known for. With similar specs to the Xperia arc, one can imagine the Xperia ray as its compact cousin.

Weighing in at 100g, the Xperia ray feels very light in the hands.

We really like the slim profile of the Xperia ray, which measures in at 9.4mm. 

What grabbed our attention next is its 3.3-inch Reality Display powered by Sony's Mobile Bravia Engine. Colors look rich and bright on the display. The display is also made of scratch resistant mineral glass, which will minimise the chances of the screen being scratched. Another key highlight of the Xperia ray is its 8.1-megapixel camera. The camera comes with Exmor R, a back-illuminated CMOS technology developed by Sony which promises better picture quality. 

When using the phone in landscape, the virtual QWERTY keyboard is sufficiently spaced on the 3.3-inch screen of the Xperia ray.

Located at the back of the ray is the 8.1-megapixel camera which is capable of HD video recording.

Running on the Xperia ray is the latest Android 2.3 Gingerbread OS, coupled with Sony Ericsson's Timescape complementing its user interface.

It is no surprise that the new Xperia ray runs on Android 2.3, which is slowly becoming more common among Android devices in the coming months.

Sony Ericsson has its Timescape overlay in the Xperia ray to enhance the usability of the Android user interface.

Sony Ericsson Xperia active

While the Xperia ray will appeal to the fashion conscious consumers, the Xperia active, as the name suggests, will attract people who lead active lifestyles. The Xperia active is jam packed with sports features and apps to bring out the exercise junkie in you. Not only is the Xpera active dust proof and water resistant up to 1 meter for 30 minutes, it incorporates a unique wet finger tracking technology to ensure that you can use the phone normally even if the screen or your fingers are wet. In reality, we feel that it is going to be a big plus points for active individuals as they do not need to worry about the touch screen not responding properly to their finger presses during or after working out.

The Xperia active is thoroughly protected from elements of nature with the important ports covered.

Don't be surprised that the power button is also well protected. There is virtually no exposed ports found on the Xperia active.

Sony Ericsson adds two back covers to protect the internals of the phone. Seen here is the first back cover.

We had difficulties removing the second back cover as it tightly seals the internals of the Xperia active.

Apps-wise, the Xperia active comes with the iMapMyFitness app which utilizes the in-built GPS to keep track of your daily fitness activities and performances. Moreover, Facebook inside Xperia will enable you to share your progress and experience with your friends on the social networking site, which is definitely going to motivate you to exercise more. The user interface of the Xperia active is also geared for better access to the fitness apps by sports enthusiasts. 

The Xperia active comes preinstalled with iMapMyFitness, which acts as your personal trainer. 

The 4-corner UI is seen here, with a tab specially for fitness apps located at the top right corner, making it easy for you to access them whenever you need.

Sony Ericsson includes a few more extras in the sales package for the Xperia active.

You can find the wrist strap, an armband, an exchangeable soft touch back cover and detachable ear hooks in the sales package of the Xperia active.

Despite having the Xperia active in the armband, you are still able to use the phone without taking it out.

Pictured here is the wrist strap that is attached to the Xperia active via the hook.

Sony Ericsson txt 

The Sony Ericsson txt is positioned as an entertaining messaging phone. It features a full QWERTY keyboard for a comfortable and swift typing experience. During our hands-on with the device, the keyboard felt good. The keys are raised and that really helps in punching out messages faster. The txt also comes with a SMS shortcut key, which is found at the left of the scroll wheel. It brings you to the Message menu. For social addicts, the txt has a Friends app that allows them to to see the Facebook and Twitter updates of their top five friends. 

Sony Ericsson markets the txt as an entertainment messaging device .

We find the buttons a little small, especially for users with larger fingers. Nevertheless, the keys provide reasonable tactile feel when typing. The SMS shortcut key is found on the left side of the metallic circular button in the center.

 

The SMS shortcut key brings you directly to the Message option, which shaves off a few seconds in navigating the menu.

With the Friends app, you can select five individuals to be displayed on the screen.  It will pull your friends' information (contact number, Facebook and Twitter feeds) and place them in a single view. Note that the maximum number of friends you can add is five.

With regards to availability of the phones, the Xperia ray, theXperia active and the Sony Ericsson txt will be available globally in selected markets from Q3 2011. Pricing-wise, Sony Ericsson has stated that the Xperia txt is marketed as an entry-level device, which could be priced between the US$100 to US$150 range. Both the ray and active will be targeted as mid-range to high-end markets, and the pricing will vary according to different markets.

New Smart Extras - LiveDock and LiveSound 

Besides the three new handset models, Sony Ericsson also released two Smart Extras accessories to improve the overall user experience on the Android OS. The LiveDock multimedia station lets you launch apps from the Android Market and charge your phone simultaneously. According to Sony Ericsson, the LiveDock accessory is not restricted to Sony Ericsson Android devices. Any Android 2.0 and above devices can download the LiveWare app from the Android Market, and utilize the unique apps launching function of the LiveDock.

The LiveSound hi-fi headset enables you to remotely access apps from the phone through the LiveKey control. Both Smart Extras accessories will be available globally in selected markets from Q3 2011. 

You may want to consider the LiveDock for its dual-functionality of charging the device and allowing access to apps.

Sony Ericsson claims that the LiveSound hi-fi headset provides the best possible audio experience in a stylish design.

With a single push of the LiveKey control (indicated by an arrow icon), you can directly access your apps on the phone.