Sony Ericsson announced a mid-range, 3.7-inch Xperia Neo V phone — equipped with a Facebook-enhanced Android 2.3.4 release that will also be rolled out to all its Xperia phones in October. Meanwhile, Verizon Wireless decided not to offer the Samsung Galaxy S II that's expected to be unveiled on AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile on Aug. 29.
The Xperia Neo V announcement, which comes close on the heels of the Sony Ericsson Live with Walkman unveiling (pictured), will be the first Sony Ericsson Xperia phone to ship with Android 2.3 ("Gingerbread"). However, by the time, it ships globally in the fourth quarter, its Xperia siblings will all be eating Gingerbread, too.
Based on the latest Android 2.3.4 Gingerbread build, the new software will roll out in an October OTA update to Xperia phones like the 4.2-inch Xperia Arc, and presumably also to lesser-powered Xperia phones like the Xperia Mini and Mini Pro (due to ship in the third quarter). The updated distribution features additional apps and enhancements, which will also ship on the Neo V (pictured at right).
The key new feature is tighter integration with Facebook. New features are said to include single sign-on, contact and calendar sync, and photo gallery integration.
Sony Ericsson also added some 3D camera capabilities to its Gingerbread release. Specifically, the cameras will be able to use 3D sweep panorama software, enabling the images to be viewed in 3D by connecting the phone to a 3D TV via HDMI, says Sony Ericsson.
Other new features include the addition of Google Talk with video chat on phones with front-facing webcams, as well as the Swipe text entry app (not to be confused with the market-leading Swype). In addition, screen capture will be available from anywhere on the phone, says Sony Ericsson.
USB peripheral support has been added to the optional, HDMI-enabled Sony Ericsson LiveDock multimedia station, says the company. This should enable connection of devices including a mouse, keyboard, or game controller.
Xperia Neo V
The Xperia Neo V smartphone appears to be a fairly typical mid-range model. It features a 1GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon MSM8255 processor, 320MB RAM, and a 2GB microSD card in a 32GB-ready slot, says Sony Ericsson.
Somewhat similarly styled to the 3.2-inch Live with Walkman phone, the Neo V (pictured above and to the left) also shares many of its hardware and software features. The curvy Neo V is available in silver, blue, and white, measures 0.51 inches thick, and weighs 4.4 ounces (126 grams), says Sony Ericsson.
The Neo V is equipped with a 3.7-inch, 854 x 480 capacitive touchscreen that uses Sony Ericsson's Reality Display with Mobile Bravia Engine technology, says the company. The phone is also said to include a five-megapixel camera, a front-facing VGA webcam, and an HDMI port with DLNA (Digital Living Network Alliance) support.
Wireless features include Wi-Fi (with hotspot functionality), as well as Bluetooth, aGPS, and GSM/GPRS and UMTS cellular services, says Sony Ericsson. A micro-USB port and a USB 2.0 host port are said to be supplied, complete with "native USB tethering" support, as is a 3.5mm audio port.
Talk time on the 1500mAh battery is listed at 6 hours, 55 minutes with GSM/GPRS, or up to seven hours on UMTS, says the company. Using either network, meanwhile, up to 31 hours of music listening time is said to be available, as is up to 7 hours, 25 minutes of video playback.
The Android 2.3 stack features Android Market, Google Voice Search, Google Talk with video chat, Google Mail, Google Latitude, and Google Maps, among other Google apps. For navigation, Sony Ericsson uses the Wisepilot turn-by-turn navigation app. (Additional software features may be found in the Neo V announcement.)
Verizon skipping over Galaxy S II
Anticipation for the Samsung Galaxy S II Android 2.3 phone has grown in the U.S., especially with Samsung claiming sales of over three million models overseas. Samsung will host a Galaxy S II launch event in New York City Aug. 29, where the top Android phone maker is expected to unveil the Galaxy S II (pictured below, right) handsets on AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile.
(It's possible Hurricane Irene could force Samsung to postpone the event, although the storm should have moved out of the New York area by then.)
Verizon Wireless was expected to be on the list, but has decided not to carry the phone. Following a story in the Wall Street Journal reporting Verizon's change of plans, the carrier confirmed to our sister publication eWEEK it will not offer the phone.
Verizon is expected to announce the Motorola Droid Bionic, on Sept. 8, and is also expected to launch the Apple iPhone 5 in September. The general consensus appears to be that Verizon did not want to release too many high-end phones at the same time. It's possible, however, that Apple, which has several patent-related legal actions against Samsung, applied some pressure to cancel the Galaxy S II on Verizon.
The Galaxy S II runs Gingerbread on a 1.2GHz dual-core Samsung Exynos processor. The handset also sports a 4.3 inch Super AMOLED Plus display, an eight-megapixel rear-facing camera that grabs video in 1080p, plus a two-megapixel front-facing camera.
On Aug. 24, Samsung announced a new naming scheme for all its new Galaxy-branded phones and tipped four new Android 2.3 models. The new entries are the Galaxy W (3.7-inch, 1.4GHz), the QWERTY-enabled Galaxy M Pro (2.66-inch, 1GHz), the Galaxy Y (three-inch, 832MHz), and the keyboard-ready Galaxy Y Pro.
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