Sony Ericsson announces the Xperia arc

CES 2011: Slim and good looking, but will that be enough?

SONY ERICSSON HAS been struggling for some time and although its Xperia line of Android handsets have improved things to a degree, the company has as many others been slow when it comes to releasing updated versions of Android for its handsets. Its latest addition to the Xperia line of devices was just announced and although it has the looks of a high-end handset, does the Xperia arc have what it takes to fight off the competition in 2011?

There’s no doubt that Sony Ericsson can design stunning products when they want to and the Xperia arc is one of the best looking Android phones we’ve seen so far and at a mere 8.7mm thick, it’s also one of the thinnest smartphones ever. Feature wise it sports a large 4.2-inch capacitive touch screen with a resolution of 854×480 pixels and the press release mentions that it’s covered by a “shatter proof sheet on scratch-resistant mineral glass” and it does of course support capacitive multi-touch like any self-respecting smartphone these days.

Add to that some Sony technology such as Mobile Bravia Engine which is meant to enhance the contrast, boost the colours, reduce image noise and in general make for a crisper looking picture. Then there’s the Exmor R for mobile CMOS sensor which powers the 8.1 Megapixel auto focus camera that features an f/2.4 aperture lens and up to 2.46x smart zoom (read digital zoom without the downsides) and things are starting to look both interesting and like we’ve swallowed the marketing speak hook, line and sinker.

Fret not, we’re not that foolish, but there’s no denying that the camera seems to be very good for a phone. It also offers 720p video recording, touch focus, a built in video light, geo tagging and a bunch of other less interesting features. The Xperia arc does of course have a range of other features including an micro HDMI port, a side mounted 3.5mm headphone jack, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, a micro USB port and aGPS which not only supports Google maps, but Sony Ericsson also bundles Wisepilot turn-by-turn navigation software with the Xperia arc.

The nitty-gritty bits aren’t so clear at this moment, Sony Ericsson only mentions that the Xperia arc will have a 1GHz Qualcomm processor of some kind, up to 512MB of memory and that it will ship with an 8GB micro SD card. Clear as mud in other words, but it doesn’t look like it’ll be anywhere close to the most powerful of Android phones even at launch. Sony Ericsson will offer models that work on either the 900 and 2100MHz UMTS bands or the 800, 850, 1900 and 2100MHz UMTS bands, although both models will support quad band GSM.

The Xperia arc is set to start shipping in about three months’ time for a yet unknown price and it will come with Android 2.3 which is good news as for once you won’t have to sit and wait for your phone to get upgraded to the latest version of Android just to find out that you’ve been waiting in vain. In as much as the Xperia arc has a great looking design, we think it’s going to have a rough time against some of the latest devices that have been announced by Motorola and LG, but as we have yet to see either device in the flesh, it’s a little bit too early to draw any conclusions.S|A


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