CES: Sony launches the Xperia S smartphone

Leaks, both official and unofficial, had indicated a new smartphone from Sony at CES, but we've actually seen four launch. However, only one is of interest to the UK market – the Sony Xperia S.

No, we haven't got that name wrong, this is 'Sony' rather than 'Sony Ericsson', the first smartphone to appear after those two tech companies go their separate ways and part of a new NXT series. It's a tasty piece of kit to bring in the new era too.

Using a new 'Iconic Identity' (their words) which will be replicated across all future NXT phones, the slimline Xperia S is sadly not a new dawn in terms of Android. We're talking Android Gingerbread (2.3) rather than Ice Cream Sandwich. But Sony does point out that the phone will be upgraded from the former to the latter in the second quarter of 2012.

However, other features do impress. Those include a 4.3-inch Reality Display with Mobile BRAVIA Engine and HD resolution screen (1280x720), as well as front (720p) and back (1080p) cameras for HD recording. There's also a much-anticipated 1.5GHz dual-core processor (making it Sony's first dual-core offering), 32GB of internal flash storage, a 12-megapixel Sony Exmor R back camera (which can take shots in just 1.5 seconds directly from standby mode), NFC for those contactless payments and HD sharing through DLNA and HDMI. In fact, if you hook it up to your TV, you can use BRAVIA Sync to control your phone.

Other notable add-ons include Xperia SmartTags, which launch a pre-configured profile in your NFC-enabled phone, such as the alarm clock for a SmartTag by your bed or a GPS application for the SmartTag in your car. Except more on these in the coming months. There's also a new Bluetooth stereo headset and a SmartWatch, described as a 'micro display accessory for communicating with an Android smartphone via Bluetooth'. Yes, another watch add-on, relaunched for the Xperia S.

Those will follow on from the phone itself, which is likely to land around spring. Specific price and network details to follow.

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