The month of May is a big one for Big Red. Shortly after introducing the 4G-powered Droid Charge in late April, Verizon Wireless is adding three more intriguing smartphones to its arsenal. First up is the long-awaited successor to the Droid X, the appropriately titled Droid X2. This Droid packs a giant 4.3-inch scratch-resistant and anti-reflective qHD display and a speedy dual-core 1GHz processor–this is the first VZW phone to carry such a chip. Other specs include an eight megapixel camera with autofocus and HD video capture (a front-facing cam is noticeably absent here), HDMI output, and mobile hotspot capabilities with up to five WiFi-enabled devices. The X2 will come preloaded with Android 2.2, and the carrier promises an upgrade to 2.3 is coming soon. It lands on Verizon this Thursday the 26th of May at the usual $199.99 price point under a new two-year contract.
Let’s breeze through handset #2. We already know all about the Xperia Play, aka the “PlayStation Phone.” The phone released earlier this spring internationally, and come May 26 the PlayStation Certified Android 2.3-powered device will be available for US consumers for $199.99. It will come preloaded with seven game titles including Madden NFL 11, Bruce Lee Dragon Warrior, Asphalt 6: Adrenaline, The Sims 3, Star Battalion, Crash Bandicoot, and Tetris. Available for preorder today. Read all about Sony Ericsson’s gaming-oriented phone right here.
So many firsts for Verizon, let’s recap: The Charge became the inaugural device to bring 4G speeds to the Droid brand, the Droid X2 is the carrier’s first dual-core phone, and Verizon is the first US carrier to offer the Xperia Play. And now there’s this: later this month HTC’s Trophy drops on Big Red to become the first Windows Phone 7 device to run on the nation’s largest network. Want specs? Got ’em. The ruggedly designed Trophy features a 3.8-inch screen, 1 GHz Snapdragon processor, five megapixel camera with autofocus and LED flash that captures 720p HD video, 16 GB onboard storage, 802.11 b/g/n WiFi, and SRS WOW HD surround sound built in. The world phone’s loaded with Microsoft’s Metro-infused OS and HTC’s customizable Hub. On sale May 26 for $149.99 after a $50 mail-in rebate and if you climb aboard Verizon’s ‘waves for 2 years, of course.
While the initial run of Xperia Play ads were extremely creepy, these on the other hand are really funny. Sony Ericsson has tapped the talented comedian Kristen Schaal (of Flight of the Conchords fame) to promote the upcoming PlayStation-certified handset. My favorite one resides above, but make sure to click after the break to check out the others. Ads in general suck, but these are totally worth watching. Schaal nails it every time.
Sony Ericsson’s “PlayStation phone” named the Xperia Play was teased during the Super Bowl and today the smartphone company let out a prequel commercial that goes on to explain how exactly those human thumbs ended up sewed onto the green nubs of the Android mascot. If you thought the teaser was creepy, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet.
Today at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona Sony Ericsson made official the Xperia Play. For years the rumor mill has been stockpiled with dreams for the PlayStation Phone to come true and today Sony Ericsson finally addressed the leaks and came out with everything. At its heart the Xperia Play is an Android phone, so let’s start there. The Play runs Android 2.3 (aka Gingerbread, with SE’s TimeScape skin plastered on top) and is powered by a 1GHz Snapdragon processor and embedded Adreno GPU (which promises to deliver games at a “silky smooth” 60 frames per second). It packs a 4-inch (854×480) multitouch display, 5 megapixel camera with autofocus and LED flash, AGPS, WiFi, Bluetooth, stereo speakers, USB and headphone ports, and microSD slot (8GB card included, expandable up to 32GB). It’s a quad-band GSM/CDMA and EV-DO smartphone. The Play is set to launch in March, and it’s coming to the U.S. exclusively on Verizon in “early spring” at an undisclosed price.
With all the phone facts set aside, now let’s turn to what makes the Xperia Play a gaming device. The Play is being billed as the first PlayStation Certified device, meaning it will have access to PlayStation game content provided through the PlayStation Suite initiative which is set to roll out later this year. SE has partnered with video games publishers to bring not only PS games but also Android Marketplace gaming apps to the device. Franchises such as EA’s Need For Speed, Sims 3, and FIFA 10, Activision’s Guitar Hero, and Gameloft’s Assassin’s Creed and Splinter Cell will all make their way to the Play. SE promises over 50 titles will be available to download and play by launch. Many titles will come preloaded on the device, too; they include Asphalt Adrenaline 6, Bruce Lee, Star Battalion, The Sims 3, and Tetris. At the press event SE hinted that the Play would also come with a “legendary pre-installed title”, and according to Engadget that game is Crash Bandicoot. So how will you play all these on a smartphone? What makes the Play so brilliantly PlayStation Certified is its slide-out game pad that features dedicated gaming controls like a D-Pad, two analog touch pads, two shoulder buttons, and the four PlayStation buttons (circle, cross, square and triangle). In addition to using these controls to play PS-branded games, Android Marketplace game apps can also take advantage of the traditional control scheme. Other gaming related tidbits worthy of mention… Local area multiplayer can be achieved by hosting a WiFi hotspot on one device and inviting others to it. SE says the Play can handle up to five and a half hours of gameplay on a single charge. Lastly, the Play will receive exclusive bonus content such as game levels and other upgrades.
Though it’s conveniently being hailed as the “PlayStation Phone,” Sony Ericsson’s Xperia Play is the first of what promises to be many PlayStation Certified Android-based devices to boast PS content. With a large screen and a slick slide-out game pad, the Xperia Play should deliver on the phone and gaming fronts. Whether or not it will be able to compete with the likes of the NGP or Nintendo 3DS, that’s another question altogether whose answer will largely depend on the Play’s software lineup and games developer support. Images below, video and PR after the break.
This shouldn’t be much of a surprise, but #BrandBowl was trending right next to #SuperBowl in the Twittersphere during the big game today. While the sports-loving percentage of the country kept their minds focused on the Packers and Steelers, the rest of us admittedly didn’t care so much for the game and instead invested our time in watching the commercials placed neatly between timeouts and end of quarters. As you know, companies spend millions of dollars for a 30-second spot during the most watched (sporting) event on TV. So how did they fare this year? All in all they were alright; nothing wildly spectacular caught my attention but they were definitely some stand outs worth mentioning and watching again. From beer to cars to Doritos, tech, and movie trailers–it’s all after the break for you to peruse. (Click here for more…)
Now THIS has been a long time coming. Sony Ericsson is finally releasing its first Android-powered smartphone on August 15 for $149 (with a new two-year contract) on AT&T. The Xperia X10 first made waves last summer when a breif video preview leaked onto the ‘Net. Codenamed “Rachel” the SE customized user interface evolved over the months to eventually become a skin for Android 1.6. That’s right, the X10 runs a very old version of the Android OS (version 2.2 is just starting to trickle onto handsets today). As disappointing as that sounds, it looks like the highly customized UI overlay might hide the cobwebs and make for an inviting experience. SE offically revaled the X10 back in November, but I’ll refresh your memory with a quick listing of specs. The X10 packs a 4-inch touch screen, 1GHz Snapdragon processor, 8.1 megapixel camera with LED flash (plus smile detection, face recognition, and autofocus), built-in GPS, and 8GB of on-board memory and 2GB memory card (expandable up to 32GB). The cornerstone(s) of the refined UI skin are SE’s “signature applications” Mediascape and Timescape:
*Mediascape on the Xperia X10 gathers music, photos, videos and content from your phone’s memory card and online, letting you browse, search, listen and share your media from one unified view. For example, view photos taken on the device as well as your Facebook and Picasa web albums. Or, when listening to a favorite song on your phone, press Sony Ericsson’s infinite button to access related content about the artist pulled from the phone’s memory as well as albums, songs and video content from YouTube and search results from Google.
*Timescape is a unique communication application that automatically organizes social interactions in chronological order, leaving users free to concentrate on keeping in touch on-the-go. From Facebook and Twitter updates to photos, emails and text messages, a scrolling menu offers easy viewing and organization of all communications. Additionally, tap the Timescape infinite button to bring up and view all communications from a single person in a single place.
Like I said, the X10 will be available August 15 in AT&T stores for $149.99. But if you choose to pick one up at a local Sony Style store you’ll receive an instant $20 rebate. Look after the break for the official PR and a brief video tour conducted by a Sony rep from this past year’s CES.
Late last night Sony officially announced the Sony Ericsson XPERIA X10 smartphone. It is SE’s first Android device. Some specs include a 1GHz Snapdragon processor, a 4-inch capacitive touch display (480 x 854 pixels), an 8.1 megapixel camera with autofocus, A-GPS, Bluetooth, and Wi-Fi. It also has a 3.5 mm audio jack, a micro USB connector, and it comes with an 8 GB microSD card. The most exciting news involves the personalized user interface. Android 1.6 will be running underneath SE’s elegant UI called Rachael. We have seen Rachael before but never in such an official and polished manner. SE was keen to mention that the XPERIA X10 is the flagship device in a line of Android-powered phones; glad to know there is more where this comes from. I’m looking forward to seeing how the XPERIA X10 device performs when it releases Q1 2010.
For now, be sure to check out the gallery below for some official press shots and peek after the break to see the phone (and the stunning Rachael) in action.
We’ve already seen a video of the purported Sony Ericsson “Rachael” user interface at work. A new video has been released this week and it reveals the media playback capabilities. Watch out Apple; SE’s concept (hopefully -turned real) Android user interface looks very, very good.
The Sony Ericsson MH907 earbuds rightly claim to be the first “motion activiated” headphones that feature SE’s “SensMe Control.” What does it do? When you place the earbuds into your ears, your music starts playing, no button mashing required. If you take a bud out of one ear, the music pauses, either to answer a call or to carry on conversation with a nearby pal. How does this work? The bud “requires [a] conductive surface to activate the controls.” Basically, when the buds touch the surface of your ear they know to start playing the tunes. When they are taken out from your ear they “sense” the removal and pause the music. So you won’t have any problems shoving the ‘phones in your pocket; they won’t turn on becuase they are not hitting a conductive surface.
Engadget has received this claficiation from SE: “SE has further clarified that the technology is capacitive in nature. In other words, removing an ear bud isn’t breaking the flow of current between buds (and across your noodle) — it’s destroying the dynamic capacitor formed by the touch of human skin.” Although this tech is not going to change things “forever” (as Sony Ericsson put it before the today’s unveil) it should make some impact in the market. Let’s wait and see if competitors try to up the ante.
The MH907 is available this week for “most Sony Ericsson phones with a fast port connector” for 39 euros, or roughly 60 US dollars.
With the Apple iPhone, HTC G1 (the “Google phone”), and Blackberry devices taking over the smartphone industry by storm (no pun intended, Blackberry), it’s time for Sony Ericsson (SE) to step up to the plate and offer a sleek device with updated hardware and a state-of-the-art user interface. And from the looks of it, it seems as if SE has done just that with their new handset code-named Rachael. Although the actual images of the cell phone may be artist rendering (or fakes for all we know), the user interface revealed in the embedded video above is very real and very exciting. The SE Rachael will run of Google’s Android open-source platform, with its own customized user interface layered on top. The polished UI seems to include a “unified messaging interface that displays Facebook, Twitter, email, SMS, and calls all from one screen.” Now all we can do is wait patiently for SE to officially announce the new handset and sleek UI; they better do this quickly because smartphone platforms like the iPhone are not slowing down their progress anytime soon. Look after the break (click “more…”) for images of the Rachael device. (Click here for more…)