London - Sony developed a 4G HSPA+ Android smartphone whose touchscreen doesn't have to be touched to navigate a web page.
The Xperia Sola phone will be available globally in the second quarter, but the company didn't say when or if it would be launched in the U.S.
The phone uses what Sony called floating touch technology, enabling users to hover a finger up to 0.78 inches above the screen to scroll a web page up and down or side to side as well as highlight embedded links. To activate a link, however, users must still touch the screen.
The no-touch technology also works with websites designed to respond to "hover" events in which a PC's mouse is used to move a pointer across a web page, the company said. Live wallpapers provided by Sony will also respond to a hovering finger.
In the future, Sony promised to apply the technology to other phone functions and applications, and the company noted that future Android apps could be designed to respond to a floating touch.
, which is exclusive to Sony, can be seen in this
The phone will ship with two NFC smart tags that users can program with up to 10 commands to automatically set phone settings for difference uses. One tag is preprogrammed for living-room use to turn on Wi-Fi and launch Google news and weather apps. The other tag is designed for the bedroom to turn on the alarm and switch to silent mode.
The phone operates in 850/1900MHz 14.4Mbps HSPA+ networks in the U.S. and in foreign HSPA+ networks. Features include 1GHz dual-core processor, 512MB RAM, 3.7-inch 854 by 480 display, Android 2.3 OS with a 4.0 upgrade planned for the summer, DLNA certification, access to Sony's music and movie-streaming services, 8GB internal storage, 32GB MicroSD slot, and a 5-megapixel camera with flash, panorama mode, 16x digital zoom, autofocus, face detection, 720p video capture with video light and red-eye reduction.
are available on Sony's website.