We have been out of action over the last month or so and have unfortunately missed on some key stories during that time. Whilst we’re sure a lot of you are clued up on events, we thought we’d recap on what we believe to be the most important developments for the Sony Ericsson Xperia range since our radio silence.
Key Xperia developments over the past month
Sony buys out Ericsson from Joint Venture
The biggest story over the last month is the news that Sony has bought the Ericsson half of the Sony Ericsson joint venture which means that Sony Ericsson is now wholly owned by Sony. This move was well publicised and gives Sony the focus to pursue its four-screen strategy around TVs, tablets, smartphones and the PC. The Sony Ericsson brand name will stick around for the short term only. There’s also no assurance that Sony will keep the Xperia brand with its new strategy – or it may introduce different brands to cater for different focuses (gaming, imaging, business etc.) It will be very interesting to see which steps the company takes through 2012.
Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS) announced and AOSP released
Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich was unfortunately announced on the day that this site took a month’s hiatus. This is the next major iteration of Android that combines both smartphone and tablet operating systems. Click here for more of the finer details. More recently the source code for ICS was released which means that Cyanogenmod will start working on a port that will eventually be released for Xperia devices.
Android 4.0 ICS to officially arrive on all eight 2011 Sony Ericsson Xperia phones
Details remain vague, but that doesn’t matter right now as Sony Ericsson confirmed that Android 4.0 ICS will arrive on the entire 2011 Xperia portfolio. This is good news and we have come to expect nothing less from Sony Ericsson. Users shouldn’t expect this to come quick though. We do not expect Android 4.0 to be released before the 2012 Xperia flagship debuts in March 2012.
Sony Ericsson LT26i (Nozomi) leaked
Clear pictures of Sony Ericsson’s 2012 flagship were leaked by iAndroid.co.il. The pictures confirmed a device with 720 x 1280 screen resolution, likely 1GB RAM and a front facing camera. The back of the handset revealed a camera with LED flash (no xenon unfortunately) and what looks like to be a notification light strip across the bottom. The handset is meant to be sporting a dual-core 1.5GHz processor, but only scored around 1800 in the Quadrant benchmark. However, there is no doubt this is likely to be a very early prototype so hopefully we’ll hear some more concrete news as we move into the new year.
Xperia arc and Xperia acro Playstation Certified in Japan
Sony Ericsson added two more phones to its Playstation Certified stable, which up until now only included the Xperia PLAY. Both the Xperia acro and the Xperia arc will be PS Certified, but only for those in Japan. NTT DoCoMo will release updates that will enable handsets to download PS Suite games. Given the news, we see no reason why the global Xperia arc and Xperia arc S handsets shouldn’t be Playstation Certified in due course.
Playstation Suite SDK now in Beta
Sony announced that it is accepting applications for the beta of the Playstation Suite SDK. This puts it on course for a Spring 2012 release.
Vscreens makes it easy to share pictures on your TV
Sony Ericsson has come up with an easy way to share your pictures, presentations and other stuff from your phone with a bigger screen. There is no need to connect your phone via HDMI, Bluetooth, or DLNA. All you need to do is bring up the website vscreens.com on your large screen either through your laptop, games console or an internet enabled TV. Then download the vscreens app from Android Market, scan the QR code from the TV screen and away you go. Genius.
Xperia arc S now selling unlocked in the US for $500
The Sony Ericsson Xperia arc S is being sold on the Sony Store website for $499.99. This is in line with previous Xperia models being sold directly through Sony rather than being supported by a US carrier. Let’s hope that SE gets more US carrier support in 2012.
8MP Camera phone shoot out (including Xperia arc S)
GSM Arena conducted a 8 Mega Pixel camera phone shoot out using six smartphones including the Xperia arc S. Whilst the Xperia arc S didn’t come out on top, it is nonetheless interesting reading to see where it stands in the current crop of smartphones.
Xperia Studio – Xperia neo powered 360 degree video recording rig
Check out the latest video from the Xperia Studio that involves photographer Joergen Geerds capturing the landscape in the Moab Desert, Utah in a full 360° panoramic video. He rigged six Xperia Neo smartphones onto a mountain bike to record some stunning footage. See the video here.
Xperia neo V now available in UK for £250 and US for $350
The Sony Ericsson Xperia neo V is now being sold in the UK for £249.99. It is also being sold in the US through the Sony Store for $349.99. The neo V is identical to the neo but comes with an inferior 5MP camera compared to the 8MP Exmor R camera sensor found in the neo.
Sony Ericsson’s Unlock Bootloader site updated
Sony Ericsson has updated the instructions over at its bootloader unlocking site, to make the process clearer to the novices out there. One of the biggest changes is that you can now tell if your phone’s bootloader can be unlocked just by accessing the service menu. Prior to this you had to go through a fiddly process just to know whether your phone could be unlocked or not.
Camera libraries for Xperia handsets released by Sony Ericsson
This is something that has been in the pipeline for a while, however Sony Ericsson has now officially released the camera library binaries for developers. These drivers have been made available under a special end-user licence agreement (EULA) to the FreeXperia dev team and should work for all 2011 Xperia devices, expect the Xperia PLAY that uses a different camera module.
XPERIA PLAY GAME NEWS
We have listed below some of the new games released/announced for the Xperia PLAY over the past month.
Adventures of Tintin HD - The Adventures of Tintin HD was released by Gameloft to tie-in with the recent hit Spielberg film. The game can be purchased from the Android market or the Gameloft store right now for £3. It will occupy 1.5GB of space on your SD card.
Beebdroid , BBC Micro emulator, optimised for the Xperia Play - If you were wondering why nobody had released an emulator for the BBC Micro, well wonder no more. Beebdroid is now available to download for free in the Android Market.
Dead on Arrival - The zombie shooter Dead on Arrival is now on the Xperia Play launcher. The game involves fighting through a horde of zombies and is free to download.
Fast Five the Movie: Official Game HD - The official mobile Fast Five game from Gameloft has been optimised for the Xperia PLAY and is now available from the Xperia PLAY launcher. It features all of the main cars from the film including the Dodge Challenger 2011. You can download it now for £3 and it will take 838MB of space on your SD card.
Galaxy on Fire 2 Valkyrie - If you like space trader games, then it’s worth noting that Fishlabs’s Galaxy on Fire 2 is free to download for all Xperia Play owners until 1st January 2012.
Helium Boy - The 3D platformer Helium Boy was released onto the Android Market, fully optimised for the Xperia Play. The game costs £1.49 and is available right now. It involves navigating a colourful 3D world via balloons and is inspired by classics such as Balloon Flight and Balloon Kid.
Pinball Ride - Pinball Ride has been released onto the Xperia PLAY launcher. It is currently on sale for $0.99 (£0.89).
PES 2012 Pro Evolution Soccer - PES 2012 has been released onto the Android Market for £4.31.
Reckless Racing 2 - The sequel to the Micro Machines styled hit, Reckless Racing, will be seeing a Xperia PLAY release. The sequel will feature longer and more dangerous tracks, as well as a full single-player campaign.
Shadowgun - The Gears of War themed shooter Shadowgun has been released onto the Xperia PLAY. You will find it on the Android Market for £3.49.