Sony on Friday announced the official launch of the Xperia P, Xperia U and Xperia sola in Singapore (see Figure A). The first two Android smartphones were initially unveiled at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona earlier this year, while the wraps were taken off the Xperia sola in March. When I asked, Sony Singapore told me that the smartphones were launched “a few days” apart in individual markets in the Asia Pacific region.
According to Sony, Xperia users can get free lifetime 50GB storage from Box by simply downloading the Box App from the Google Play store from their Xperia smartphones before the end of December 2012. This is a better offer than the two years’ worth of 50GB Dropbox storage announced for users of the upcoming Samsung Galaxy SIII. All Xperia smartphones come with Android 2.3 Gingerbread installed but will be upgradeable to Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich. No release schedule has been specified however.
The three phones look similar due to their uniform candy bar-style design as part of the NXT product family. Screen sizes are relatively modest though, and range from 3.5 inches for the Xperia U to 4 inches for the Xperia P. For the same dual-core 1GHz processor under the hood, differences in their capabilities and positioning exist which I highlight below.
The highest-end model of the current crop of Android smartphones from Sony, the Xperia P has a 4-inch (960 x 540) display with “WhiteMagic” display technology touted as being bright enough for comfortable viewing even in direct sunlight. The Xperia P also supports NFC (Near Field Communications) and HDMI connectivity.
The Xperia U sports a 3.5-inch (854 x 480) display and incorporates a compact design with interchangeable color caps for personalization. This appears to be targeted as the lowest-end device in the series and is the only smartphone in the new releases that comes with a user replaceable battery.
With support for NFC and floating touch navigation for an easier web browsing experience, the Xperia sola sports a 3.7-inch (854 x 480) display.
At a time when rival Android smartphones like the Samsung Galaxy SIII and HTC One X are sporting screens measuring 4.8 inches and 4.7 inches respectively, the 4-inch screen and lackluster 1GHz du al-core processors look dated in comparison. Sony seems to recognize that, and has priced the smartphones comparatively cheaper: The Xperia P and Xperia U are sold at S$688 (US$539) and S$488 (US$382) respectively while the Xperia sola will set you back at S$588 (US$460) prior to any Telco discounts.
Sony has sent me a review unit of the Xperia Sola on Friday, which came with a couple of “SmartTag” NFC tokens. I’m currently giving the phone and its productivity-centric NFC implementation a spin and will be reporting back shortly.