San Diego - SonyEricsson's Aino 3G multimedia phone, which uses Wi-Fi and 3G to place-shift content stored on a remote PlayStation3, made it to U.S. shores as an unlocked $600 phone available in Sony Style stores and SonyStyle.com.
The touchscreen-equipped slider, which a features hard dialing keypad, also uses Wi-Fi and 3G to access the online PlayStation Store to buy music, movies, TV shows, podcasts and games. After content is purchased, the user's PS3 then automatically downloads the purchased content, after which the Aino is able to place-shift the content, except for games. The store also rents downloadable movies.
To synchronize with PC content, Aino uses Wi-Fi to connect to a nearby PC that runs SonyEricsson's Media Home software. When Aino is placed in its supplied charging stand, the phone automatically synchronizes. Media Home software can also be programmed to automatically upload new content every 30 minutes to a phone within range of the PC's Wi-Fi network. The software transcodes video to a format supported by the phone.
Other features include 3-inch 432 by 240-pixel widescreen touchscreen, media browser with 3D navigation, 8.1-megapixel camera with photo flash, included stereo Bluetooth headphones, and 8GB microSD memory card. Other camera-related features include dedicated camera buttons, auto/touch Focus, image stabilization, 16x digital zoom, face detection, BestPic technology, auto-rotation of images, and geotagging photos to Google Maps.
The device, which operates in 850/1,900/2,100MHz 3G HSPA networks, is available through Sony Electronics, which is the only authorized distributor of SonyEricsson unlocked handsets in North America.
In the U.S., the device is not compatible with Sony's PlayNow Arena movie-download service. In other countries, the service lets consumers download movies to their PC, then sideload the movies to the Aino. The movie service lets consumers watch up to 60 movies a year on the phones. Once downloaded, the movies can be watched as often as the consumer wants for up to 90 days.