Sony outs Xperia sola: 3.7-inch LCD, 1GHz CPU, 'floating touch' navigation

So, it turns out the sola isn't a US-specific version of the Xperia S after all, but a new handset in its own right -- albeit one we've already seen under the "Pepper" codename. In some ways, it's a budget version of the S, with a similar appearance minus the glittery translucent strip along the bottom and with various other reductions, including a 3.7-inch 854 x 480 LCD, 1GHz dual-core processor and 5-megapixel rear camera. On the other hand, it's a fully hazed member of the Xperia gang, with NFC SmartTags, an xLOUD "surround sound" speaker, Mobile BRAVIA image processing and, of course, full access to the Sony Entertainment Network. As expected, the sola will ship with Gingerbread but be upgradeable to ICS soon after launch. There's also one completely new spec: "floating touch" navigation for "magic web browsing without touching the screen." What is it? Does it work? We should have answers pretty soon -- the handset is due for a global release in black, white and red colors in Q2. Check the source link for full specs.

Update: More on "floating touch" right here.

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Xperia sola from Sony – the smartphone with a sense of magic

· Introducing "floating touch" navigation for magic web browsing without touching the screen
· Easily open apps and launch actions in an instant with NFC and Xperia SmartTags
· Reality Display with Mobile Bravia engine and fast capture camera boosted by a powerful dual-core processor

13 March, London, United Kingdom – Sony Mobile Communications today announced Xperia™ sola* as the latest addition to its portfolio of Android powered Xperia smartphones. Complete with Sony technology, premium entertainment and innovative floating touch™ navigation, the NFC enabled Xperia sola comes equipped with Xperia SmartTags, allowing consumers to change their smartphone's settings and applications to fit their lifestyle in an instant. Xperia sola will be available to consumers globally in black, white and red in the second quarter.

A floating touch of magic

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 curser, 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.

Calum MacDougall, Head of Xperia Marketing for Sony Mobile Communications, commented; "Xperia sola comes with the power of Sony and a sense of magic with floating touch, giving consumers a fun new way to browse the web and latest technology to show off. With Xperia SmartTags out of the box and access to the latest content through Sony Entertainment Network, Xperia sola is perfect for consumers looking for ease of use and the best in entertainment in a smart and innovative smartphone."

Simplify the everyday with SmartTags

Xperia sola is NFC enabled and comes with two NFC Xperia SmartTags in the box as standard to simplify consumers' everyday smartphone experiences. By touching an NFC Android smartphone on a SmartTag, a pre-configured profile in the smartphone will launch. The two SmartTags included with Xperia sola can be personalized with up to 10 commands. Out of the box they are ready for the living room to turn on Wi-Fi™ and launches Google™ news and weather apps, or for the bedroom, which turns on the alarm and switches to silent mode. Xperia sola supports NFC pairing, allowing consumers to enjoy great connectivity with other
NFC smartphones, applications and services by tapping their smartphones together.

Powerful entertainment anytime, anywhere Xperia sola boasts razor sharp clarity with Reality Display powered by Mobile BRAVIA® Engine, xLOUD™ and 3D surround sound audio technology delivering crisp and loud sound, and a 1GHz dual-core processor for super fast performance. Xperia sola also comes with fast capture to take the camera from sleep to snap
in a little over a second with a single key press.

Consumers can also access premium entertainment experiences with Sony Entertainment Network**, where they can watch the latest Hollywood blockbusters on Video Unlimited or listen to millions of songs*** through
Music Unlimited.

Key features for Xperia sola
• Floating touch navigation for an easy web browsing experience
• NFC enabled and Xperia SmartTags in the box to enable quick app loading and easy content sharing
• 3.7" Reality Display with Mobile BRAVIA Engine gives razor sharp clarity
• Powered by a 1GHz dual-core processor for super fast browsing
• xLOUD and 3D surround sound audio technology for crisp and loud listening
• Direct access to Sony Entertainment Network* with pre-installed Video and Music Unlimited** apps
• Launches on Android platform 2.3, upgrade to Android 4.0 during summer 2012