Xperia GX to release on 19 July?

by XB on 10th July 2012

in Xperia - Japan Models

The release date for the upcoming Japanese-bound Sony Xperia GX is still under wraps by NTT DoCoMo. The company has only officially confirmed that the upcoming 4.6-inch handset with 720 x 1280 resolution, 13MP camera and 1.5GHz dual-core MSM8960 chipset will launch at some point in July.

Now one user managed to spy a release date in a third-party shop, which pinned the release date as 19 July. Of course this could easily be a mistake on the shop owners part, or maybe even an educated guess so we’d take the news with a pinch of salt. Either way, Japanese users should hopefully only have a few weeks to wait. News of an international launch of this device is still under wraps unfortunately.

Via @hirona167.

  • Dreamitwork

    Ooo… i really wish this will be international release…

  • Damn .. Be the fastest in the ad .. Is there a global version of the device or not?? We are waiting for months

  • Albert Octavianus

    I can’t wait for the international’s either this one or LT30i going to replace my Xperia S!

  • dereknobuyuki

    Hopefully the shop doesn’t get in trouble =P
    Usually it is announced one week in advanced according to a Docomo rep a couple days ago.
    Big electronics store already have pre-orders available but if this July 19th launch date is true, then official pre-orders from the carrier itself will go up tomorrow (11), the day after (12), or the day after that(13).

    Still haven’t decided whether matte white is okay or not. It looks good from a distance and doesn’t look as good close up as the matte black. But I guess there is a day or two to decide.

  • Albert Octavianus

    glad to hear you finally decided to get it, since you’ve been giving few negative review on the phone :)

  • dereknobuyuki

    There was always a 50-95% chance that I would get this device.
    I still have an X10 (w/ewJET) and skipped the spring line-up to wait for this summer line-up.

    I’ve always described both the positive aspects of the device along with its shortcomings.
    It’s just that most people don’t want to listen to the negative points of something they like.

    I’ll reiterate:
    – Industrial Design is great
    – Weight is good
    – Feels good in the hand
    – Feels extremely thin without being excessively thin feeling like NEC
    – It has a proper 2-step mobile phone camera button

    – Material/Build quality is decent (not amazing but adequate) with non-plasticy materials (same as the X10/SO-01b but different than devices like the Arc)
    — Quality seems better on the black one than the white one.
    — A large number of people handle, try out, and play with the demo devices and the finish on the white one was already starting to rub off. 
    — Also, a tech journalist previous said that black looks good in matte but white looks best in glossy.
    — From a distance, the white looks pretty good but up close it feels a little funny being matte
    — The silver parts (trim around the sides of the device) will surely wear off over time but that’s nothing new.

    – The speed of the camera to boot up, take photos, recover, and take another photo is slower than some other Xperia devices it seems. However, this seems to also be hindered by memory status so the device is probably trying to run garbage collection and free up some memory, causing camera lag. 
    – The camera UI is boring and uninspiring but is perfectly usable. Xperia previously had some of the best camera UI but it seems like competitors kept trying to improve this
    – Also the on screen buttons become the typical dots so there’s no swiping in from that side in the camera UI

    – The device is not laggy per se, but it is noticeably less smooth than the Galaxy S3 with 2GB of ram. It became more apparent when you compare them side by side. Several times, I noticed some jerky lag on the GX. It’s nothing that one can’t live with but people can’t really claim that this device is perfect and amazing and incapable of having any kind of shortcoming =P

    – Activating the 2D rendering option in the developer options helps a lot. 
    – The home screen is okay. It’s not really special or anything but it’s typical decent Xperia style.
    – The app drawer is a little boring but of course perfectly usable. There is room for improvement here.
    – The lock screen has unlock, camera, shortcuts, and media playback controls. The UI for the lock screen is a little unintuitive though and there’s room for improvement.

    – This device for Docomo demands that you MUST use SP-Mode. This means you need to run a lot of resource wasting apps. 
    – All devices in the line-up have S4 Dual Core except for the Tegra3 Fujitsu ArrowsX. The Galaxy S3 has the same MSM8960 S4 as well. So, typical consumers won’t really care whether it quad core or not (because that’s the way marketing is — some people seem to disagree but please remember that just because some people want quad core doesn’t mean that’s what typical consumers wants.)
    – This device is not waterproof, doesn’t support 1-seg TV, doesn’t support infrared communication, and doesn’t support nottv which may be deal-breakers for some people
    – This device clearly has the smallest battery capacity in the line-up which seems dangerous since previous Japanese consumers were pretty angry about battery life.

    All in all, it’s a nice device but there’s always room for improvement.
    The part that has the most room for improvement is the software side.
    The demo devices have an earlier build. A checked them out again a couple days ago and there was an update available but they had not been updated. I expect further optimizations from the update to be ready for launch.

  • beenoliu

    19th July is the pre-order date, the launch date should be after a week (+7 days = 26th July)

  • Sacrow

    According to Indonesian FCC
    See here
    There is new phone – Xperia J coded ST26i (small with xperia S spec??)

  • dereknobuyuki

    It says
    In other words, they are currently accepting pre-orders ????? (for the store, not for docomo itself)
    and July 19th, is the planned date to start selling ????

    So, you can get pre-orders NOW at large electronics chains.
    Docomo Shop will have pre-orders about 1 week in advance of the launch date.
    They plan to release it on July 19th but is subject to change.

  • Good dig! That’s the 4-inch phone without the liquid energy logo! 

    With all these things popping out of nowhere (Xperia SL, LT30 Mint, ST26i) and hopefully more to come, it looks like Sony is prepping for an announcement of another set of phones!

  • Elze’

    why japan first ?

  • oro77

    Thank you for your review.
    I am quite new in this field. Could you tell me what is the SP-mode you referred ?
    Do you know if the speed of the camera(boot, taking photos …) is faster than the one in the iPhone 4s ?

  • dereknobuyuki

    oro77, sorry but this post is going to be long.

    SP-Mode is specific to the carrier Docomo and the Japanese market.Mobile telephony in Japan is pretty infamous for being a “galapogos” “walled garden” (technological isolationism and things looking pretty only if you stay inside their service garden and with walls so high that it’s impossible to escape) and way back when NTT Docomo, on the forefront of bringing something akin to the Internet to mobile users, launched something called i-mode. 

    Around the turn of the century back when we had to develop Internet applications with WAP (essentially a stack of ugly cards of information on the Internet that were not very compatible with the world wide web for regular computers), Docomo’s solution was i-mode. Other carriers both in Japan and outside Japan followed and adopt this technology as well (but not without each carrier’s bits of incompatibility to give them a competitive advantage over rival carriers — probably the same reason why emoji was so incompatible for so many years)

    i-mode to mobile Internet was kind of like what AOL was to the Internet on desktop computers. They provided a walled garden experience with nice looking targeted services but with no freedom of the Internet.

    So, you need a phone with an i-mode browser to view i-mode content and to use the network’s email services and the network’s equivalent of SMS (but could only be used within the same carrier network until recently).

    In March/April 2010, Docomo launched the Sony Ericsson Xperia (SO-01b = X10) which was the first heavily marketed android device in Japan. (Before that, phones like the HTC Magic were not heavily marketed, blackberry was restricted to corporate customers, and Windows Mobile was the only real smartphone like devices out there aside from the huge number of feature phones with many smartphone features built in). One of the biggest complaints was that the Xperia (X10) and subsequently Samsung Galaxy S that launched a few months later could not access, read, write i-mode web, messages, nor emails.

    Sometime around September or Autumn, Docomo launched SP-Mode to address this market or carrier specific shortcoming of Android. SP-Mode essentially involves 2 sides: the carrier and the handset. On the carrier side, they charge you 315 yen a month for access and provide you with a network email address, special network enabled services, and special network enabled content. They also have a separate APN to ensure that you are billed correctly. On the handset side, it requires you to install and run their SP-Mode app and have a version of the device’s firmware that supports SP Mode (although that should only be a problem on an X10 running non-Japanese firmware or ridiculously old X10 firmware). Such firmware support likely including a “feature” where if you activate tethering, it switches your APN to charge you more money. No matter if a tethered device or your phone is using data, while it is on that APN, you would be charged a lot more money. (Docomo recommends keeping tethering off except when you actually need to use it)

    Another user on xperiablog has previously commented that these SP-Mode processes and app consume a lot of memory. If you want to be able to actual render deco-mail (fancy decorated email that is common on phones in Japan) then you would need to have the i-mode email client running and check your email through that client (not through the mail or gmail apps)

    This could be a very important reason why docomo network xperia devices with only 512MB of RAM are a lot less likely to be upgraded to Android 4.0.3+ Ice Cream Sandwich.

    Now that the super long and slightly painful SP-Mode explanation is done, the second question:

    I don’t use an iPhone 4S. I’ve played with the iPhone 4S but I’ve never owned one so I don’t know how long it takes to boot the camera.

    The Xperia GX has a setting to handle this though. You can make it boot and take the first picture faster but it will likely come at the cost of memory, battery, and cpu resources (although I wouldn’t worry about CPU resources so much). It has three settings whose exact names I can’t remember: Fast Launch, Fast Launch and Shoot, and Regular.

    The actual time it takes the boot the camera really depends on a lot of conditions.
    On a phone with nothing install that you just boot up and then let it sit for 10 minutes, it will probably boot the camera faster than if the phone has been in use for the past week without rebooting.

    At times it boot up with 20 seconds and other times it boot up 3 seconds.
    Times between shots varies. Sometimes, it will take another shot in half a second but other times it took up to 10 seconds to take another shot. 

  • GX release date in india?

  • oro77

    Thank you for your consistent reply.
    I guess that the SP mode is on all docomo device, that means it is also on the docomo’s Galaxy S3 right ?

    I am little bit worried about the camera because It is quite frustrating to miss a shot because of the slowness of your smartphone :/ I thought it would be much faster.I don’t used to reboot my phone often but it is good to know there is some option :)

  • dereknobuyuki

    Yeah, the Galaxy S3 has SP-Mode and even supports 1-seg TV (which means it has a TV antenna you can pull out from the top right. However, the Galaxy S3 also has 2GB of RAM in this market so running the SP-Mode software is not a problem.

    If you have the option set to boot the camera fast and take a picture, it should be much faster.
    From the lock screen, if you slide left it goes directly into the camera. Took about 4 seconds when I tried it. I wouldn’t be surprised if it could be done much faster though with the option turned on.

    Hopefully in 8 days the user coollead, myself, and other users will have the devices on hand outside of a store environment to do hands on videos in the wild. Hopefully then we can get a better idea of how long it takes on average.

  • Coollead

    Yup! I reserved the black one back in June, at LABI!

    As for the camera… the newer versions of the firmware are significantly faster than what’s at the Smartphone lounge/Sony Store. I got to play with a June 16 firmware at an Xperia GX event. Camera speed is less than a second to open, about 1.5 to a picture being taken.

    The phone itself also feels smoother than the Galaxy S3, despite the RAM. Every benchmark I’ve taken on the GX has been faster than the S3. Antutu on the GX ranges from 6900-7200 while it’s 6700-6800 on the S3.

    I can’t wait for the final firmware and the final hardware…

  • dereknobuyuki

    Namba Labi? natsukashii na!
    Hopefully in a week, you’ll have your new device in your hands with new firmware!

    It seemed like the Ginza Smartphone lounge demo units were not updated since the update was not OTA. They are still running May firmware =P

  • Coollead

    Nah, Senri-Chuo LABI! Closer to my place! My gf got her phone at the Namba LABI though!

    The demo Xperia GX units at Docomo Shops and Yodobashi Camera were all running mid-June firmware… much, much faster than the one at the Umeda Smartphone Lounge! Check out a Yodobashi if you can.

  • dereknobuyuki

    sounds like good news on the firmware front!
    I think I bought my fridge at the Namba Labi hahah but never any phones.
    In Tokyo, there are lots of Yamada Denki but few Yamada Denki Labi 
    My local Yamada Denki is so bimyo that I wouldn’t want to purchase a mobile phone from there and Kojima Denki is not much better.

    I used to goto Bic in Namba and Yodobashi in Umeda but in Tokyo it all seems really inconveniently far away (although I suppose Bic Camera in Yurakucho and Yodobashi Camera in Akihabara are walkable from the office) so I’ll wait until the official Docomo Shops start taking pre-orders. I’ve been waiting forever for a new line of xperia phones to come out to ugrade my 27-month old Xperia SO-01b/X10.

    To be honest, it didn’t seem like the smartphone lounge was really equipped to handle non-OTA updates.

    Perhaps next Friday, I’ll try the Ginza Sony Store or the Yurakucho Bic Camera to see if they have up to date firmware.

  • dereknobuyuki

    checked out an eletronics shop (not smartphone lounge) and they definitely have different builds and firmware. Demo  units says Xperia on the front top label whereas these ones definitely have carrier+xi branding.

    This firmware was quite an improvement over the previous firmware.

    Camera boots in about 4 seconds if the process is not running.
    Camera boots in less than a second if the process is already running.

    Kojima Denki is definitely taking pre-orders (along with other big shops) but docomo has yet to official announce/offer pre-orders. According to a docomo rep at the smartphone lounge, the website will be the first place to announce it:

  • dereknobuyuki

    newer firmware:if the camera process is already running, it boots in less than a second (plus the time it takes to long-press the camera button), so you can take a shot relatively quickly if it’s already running.

    If the camera process is not running, then it takes about 4 seconds to boot.

  • oro77

    Thank you for the information.
    I will try to find a model today in order to see the phone in real :)

  • dereknobuyuki

    Many electronics shops have demo units in store now.
    Sony Store and Docomo Smartphone Lounge units are older hardware and older firmware.
    Finally under settings -> developer settings, there is an option to enable or force 2D acceleration on all apps. This helps a lot to reduce lag on the phone and in apps that have 2D effects like scrolling a list. So, it helps to turn that setting on.

  • dereknobuyuki

    As I wrote before
    2012??????????????????Means that they are currently accepting pre-orders ????? (for the store, not for docomo itself)and July 19th, is the planned date to start selling ???? (as in that’s their expected timeline)

    But obviously, this didn’t come to fruition (could be any day now though).
    Tons and tons of electronics retailers have display units of the carrier branded production model of the GX but don’t have any accessories (except for the Sony Store) nor do they have a date they are willing to tell us for launch.

    Also, worth mentioning about the ambiguity of the phrase July 19th hatsubai yotei (?????????) is the same ambiguous phrase used to tell us that the GX will launch in July at all (July hatsubai yotei ??????) so it should be pointed out that while it tells us officially that they plan to launch the GX in July, they are in no way obligated to actually do so. It’s just a plan and not binding in any way. I suppose an advantage (to them not to consumers) of it being written in Japanese is that by default and convention, ambiguous non-binding phrases are used.

  • dereknobuyuki

    reportedly it may be available now from some major electronics retailers but docomo STILL hasn’t announced anything yet! (~__~)

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