Lauren Goode

Recent Posts by Lauren Goode

Sony Brings NXT Smartphone Series to U.S.

Following the June release of the Sony Xperia Ion, the electronics giant has brought three smartphones in its NXT series — the Xperia S, Xperia P and Xperia U — to market in the U.S.

Sony Xperia S

All three phones are “unlocked” — meaning, they’re available without carrier contract and are unsubsidized.

The 5-inch Xperia S retails for $600, has a 4.3-inch HD display and boasts a 12-megapixel camera. It’s running a 1.5GHz Qualcomm dual core processor, while the other NXT phones run on 1GHz dual-core processors.

The slightly smaller Xperia P has a 4-inch HD display, an eight-megapixel camera and includes a new screen technology Sony calls WhiteMagic, which is supposed to automatically adjust the brightness of the screen, depending on the environment the user is in, to conserve battery life. That phone costs $480.

The $300 Xperia U has a 3.5-inch display and a five-megapixel camera. Unlike its more expensive cousins, which capture 1080p HD video, the Xperia U records in 720p HD. Also, the Xperia U doesn’t have built-in near field communication capabilities.

A couple things to keep in mind: All three phones are running Android 2.3, an older flavor of the Android operating system. While they are upgradable to Ice Cream Sandwich, Android fanatics will likely turn their focus toward even-newer devices that run Google’s Jelly Bean 4.1. Also, none of these smartphones are 4G/LTE compatible.

The Sony Xperia Ion smartphone, which my AllThingsD colleague Bonnie Cha reviewed here, was Sony’s first smartphone entrant into the market following the electronic giant’s buyout of Ericsson, after a decade of making cellphones as a joint venture.

It was also Sony’s company’s first 4G smartphone for the U.S. market. Unlike the unlocked Xperia NXT phones, the Xperia Ion launched through AT&T for $100 with a two-year contract. For users in AT&T’s 41 4G markets, that means zippy data speeds with the phone, although Bonnie found the Xperia Ion to have low call volume and an anemic battery.

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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik