Barcelona, Spain - Sony Mobile Communications expanded its range of NXT-series Android smartphones at the Mobile World Congress (MWC) and vowed to launch its largest brand advertising campaign in years.
Sony's mobile-phone subsidiary will "significantly increase its marketing investment in 2012," said president/CEO Bert Nordberg during a press conference here. Now that Sony Mobile is 100 percent owned by Sony, he added, Xperia smartphones are "a fundamental part of the Sony strategy" to cross-pollinate technology and assets among the CE, game and mobile groups to "revitalize the [mobile] product portfolio in Europe and North America." Full ownership of the mobile business will also enable Sony to accelerate its vision of providing content and services across multiple screens from TVs to PCs, smartphones and tablets, he claimed.
The first smartphones to be launched under Sony's sole direction are the Xperia P and Xperia U, which expand the NXT series to three models, all featuring a "minimalist approach in hardware and software," said chief marketing officer Steve Walker.
The two models will join the NXT series flagship, the Xperia S. The Xperia S, launched at January's International CES, is a PlayStation-certified phone with dual-core 1.5GHz processor, 1,280 by 720 4.3-inch display, 12.1-megapixel camera, FullHD video capture, near-field communications (NFC) with macro-embedded smart tags, proprietary Exmor camera sensor, HDMI and DLNA server capability.
The S ships this week in Spain. The P and U ship in the middle of the second quarter. The company didn't disclose whether any NXT series phone will be available in the U.S., but the P and U operate in HSPA mode in the U.S. 850/1900MHz bands as well as in the foreign 900/2100MHz bands.
Compared to the S, the two new models feature smaller screens and slightly slower 1GHz dual-core processors, and they lack the S's PlayStation certification for downloading and playing PlayStation-branded games. All three access Sony's video and music streaming services.
Both new models ships with Android 2.3 Gingerbread OS and will get an upgrade to Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich).
Among the two new NXT models, the U is the lowest price model and the smallest of the three. Its features include 3.5-inch 854 by 480-pixel display with proprietary Reality Display technology, Sony Bravia video engine, 720p video capture, 5-megapixl rear camera, front VGA camera, 8GB of embedded memory, DLNA, RDS-FM tuner, mobile Wi-Fi hot spot capability, stereo Bluetooth, and a transparent horizontal band that flashes in different colors depending on the incoming caller. The band also changes colors to match the photos or videos being displayed. Interchangeable caps in different colors attach to the bottom of the phone below the illuminated strip.
The Xperia P adds an aluminum unibody available in three colors, 4-inch qHD (8,504 by 540) display with proprietary White Magic technology to boost screen brightness, 8-megapixel rear camera, 1080p video capture, 16GB of memory, HDMI output and Exmor image sensor.