updated 09:10 am EDT, Wed June 22, 2011
Xperia active and Xperia ray out with Android 2.3
Sony Ericsson took advantage of Singapore's CommunicAsia expo to put out two new Android 2.3 smartphones, including its first real rugged model. The Xperia active is built for both exercise and outdoor use with a dust-proof, scratch-resistant, and water-resistant shell. It can work with ANT+ to pick up the heart rate and pulse from a monitor and has both a barometer and a compass beyond the usual GPS.
The design is even tailored to recognize touch input when a user's hands are wet from sweat or the rain, Sony Ericsson said. Accordingly, it comes with a wrist strap and an arm case. A preloaded iMapMyFitness app gives regular runners a way of tracking performance without having to look for an outside app like RunKeeper.
As a phone, it shares much in common with the current Sony Ericsson smartphone line and has a 1GHz processor with the four-corners custom Android layer from the Xperia minis. Just a three-inch, 320x480 screen is in place, but it carries a five-megapixel camera with 720p recording. A 2GB microSD card is in the box for the brunt of the storage.
The Xperia ray is a more conventional model intended to bring many of the features of the Xperia neo to a wider audience. While shrinking to a 3.3-inch display, it still has a 480x854 resolution and has the low light friendly, eight-megapixel Exmor R camera from Sony Ericsson's best devices. A front-facing VGA camera is also there for video chat.
The ray shares the 1GHz processor and custom Android layer with the active, although it carries a larger 4GB microSD card from the start.
Both new smartphones are due to ship in the summer. The Xperia active is likely to come to North America as one version will have 3G native to AT&T, Bell, Rogers, and Telus, but the Xperia ray so far will lack the support; it replaces the 850MHz band with the 800MHz used by Japan's NTT DoCoMo.