By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
San Diego — Sony Mobile Communications, which recently announced the U.S. launch of three unlocked smartphones, is bringing its latest smartphone, the 4G LTE Xperia TL, to the U.S. as a locked model for the AT&T network.
The Android 4.0 smartphone, which will be upgradable to Android 4.1 JellyBean, will be featured in the upcoming James Bond film “Skyfall,” the company noted.
AT&T will be the exclusive U.S. carrier of the Xperia TL and will announce pricing and an availability date in the coming months.
In June, Sony launched its first U.S. LTE phone, the $99 PlayStation-certified Xperia ion for AT&T.
The new Xperia TL features a 4.6-inch 1,080 by 720 HD display and dual-core 1.5GHz CPU like an unlocked Xperia Ion introduced earlier this year. The new phone, however, will be the first that Sony is making available in the U.S. with the ability to share music and photos via nearfield communications (NFC) techology when NFC-equipped phones are tapped together.
It’s also Sony’s first U.S. phone with Mobile High-definition Link (MHL), which transfers 1080p HD video and digital audio to TVs and home A/V receivers equipped with an MHL-enabled port. MHL also powers the mobile device and lets a TV or AVR remote control the phone and access its content.
Three preloaded Sony media apps — Walkman, Movies and Album — are included with the phone. The latter features more than 25 photo-editing options.
The phone’s 13-megapixel main camera offers more megapixels than Sony’s previously U.S. phones, up from 12 megapixels in the unlocked Ion. That phone and the new TL offer a quick launch-fast feature that lets the camera go from sleep mode to snapping a picture in just more than a second. The TL’s main camera captures 1080p video, and the front-facing webcam camera captures 720p moving images.
The Xperia TL also features DLNA-certified Wi-Fi to share content with TVs and other devices. Additional phone details were unavailable.
In recent weeks, Sony unveiled the unlocked, unsubsidized dual-SIM Tipo dual, its single-SIM counterpart the Xperia Tipo and the Xperia Acro. All are 3G phones, with the Acro offering 3G HSPA+ 14.4Mbps technology and the Tipo phones offering slower HSDPA 7.2Mbps technology.
Separately, AT&T announced a new lower-priced prepaid option for AT&T GoPhone prepaid smartphones. The new Monthly Unlimited Plan with Data offers unlimited talk and text and 1GB of data for $65 per month, or $10 less per month than the carrier’s previous lowest-price 1GB prepaid plan. AT&T also offers plans with 200MB and 50MB of data for prepaid phones.
The company’s $50 monthly plan with unlimited talk and text and the $25 monthly plan with 250 minutes and unlimited nationwide text with optional data packages will continue to be available to smartphone customers.
With the launch of the new plan, AT&T is also launching its latest GoPhone prepaid smartphone, the AT&T Fusion 2 at $99.
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