Those of you waiting for the Xperia ion to be launched in the U.S. will be happy to hear that Sony’s 2012 flagship handset will soon be available from AT&T. The carrier announced that the ion will hit stores on June 24 and the smartphone will cost you just $99.99, provided that you sign up for a new two-year contract with AT&T.
Unfortunately, the Xperia ion will be an AT&T exclusive, which means you’ll have to get an unlocked GSM unit from a different retailer to make it work with other carriers, namely T-Mobile.
Meanwhile, here’s what you can expect from the AT&T Xperia ion in terms of specs and features:
While the Xperia ion isn’t necessarily a Galaxy S3 or HTC One X rival, it’s certainly an interesting Android smartphone that offers some very interesting features, especially considering its very affordable on-contract price. One thing the carrier did not mention was an estimated release of the ICS upgrade, which may be a drawback for some potential buyers.
DALLAS, June 14, 2012 – Entertainment fans longing for a better mobile HD experience will soon have an all-new 4G LTE Android smartphone to covet as the Xperia ion from Sony arrives exclusively in all AT&T channels June 24. The new Xperia ion builds on Sony’s reputation as an innovator and leader in imaging and entertainment and costs just $99.99 with a two-year agreement. AT&T customers have access to the nation’s largest 4G network, covering more than 260 million people. As 4G LTE expands, AT&T customers are able to enjoy a widespread, ultra-fast and consistent 4G experience on their compatible device as they move in and out of LTE areas. AT&T has two 4G networks that work together for customers, LTE and HSPA+ with enhanced backhaul.
With other carriers, when you travel outside of their LTE coverage area, you’re on a much slower 3G network. Sony’s first 4G LTE smartphone comes with a 4.6-inch HD Reality display (1280 x 720), as well as the ability to view HD content on the big screen via HDMI. The HDMI connection also opens the Xperia ion’s TV launcher, a customizable home screen carousel of application shortcuts. You can navigate the TV launcher and the rest of the Xperia ion’s menus at your convenience using your TV’s remote control.
Shutterbugs will love the Xperia ion’s 12-megapixel Fast Capture camera and quick launch feature to seize life’s unexpected moments. With its dedicated camera button, the Xperia ion swiftly goes from standby to first camera shot in just 1.5 seconds and then from shot-to-shot in less than a second, ensuring you don’t miss a moment. Xperia ion boasts all-around HD video recording, so whether capturing memories or video chatting, you can be sure to have high-quality video on the go using either your rear or front-facing cameras.
Xperia ion is complemented by SmartTags, which let you do things you normally do on your phone, but more quickly and easily, with just one tap. Using near field communication technology, SmartTags let you store device preferences for a variety of locations and situations – like opening and controlling volume on the music player if you head out for a run, turning on GPS and Bluetooth in the car or turning on your alarm and silencing your ringer at night.
Sony Entertainment on the Go
Taking your music and videos with you everywhere just got easier than ever thanks to the Sony Entertainment Network (SEN). Sony Music Unlimited puts a global catalog of more than12 million songs at your fingertips, and Sony Video Unlimited makes sure there is never a dull moment with the latest Hollywood blockbusters and TV shows from all major studios available for you to rent or buy.
For the Xperia ion, both Music Unlimited and Video Unlimited are available for download from the Google Play store. AT&T customers who buy the Xperia ion will get to try the premium service level of Music Unlimited free for thirty days. The Xperia ion is also ready for advanced gaming as it is PlayStation® Certified. The hardware is optimized to deliver an exceptional gaming experience and users will have future access to PlayStation titles as the catalog is developed. With so much entertainment to be enjoyed, the Xperia ion comes with plenty of internal memory, with the option to add up to 32GB external (microSD™) memory.
For more information, customers can visit http://www.att.com/aboutus.
4.6″ (measured diagonally) 720p HD Reality Display with Mobile BRAVIA® Engine for unbeatable HD viewing
HD imaging excellence from Sony: 12MP camera with Exmor R™ for Mobile camera sensor, 1080p HD video recording, 1 MP 720p HD front-facing camera
Easy multi-screen connectivity with HDMI and DLNA®
1.5Ghz dual core processor
16GB internal memory with microSD™ expansion slot supports up to 32GB
PlayStation Certified for high quality mobile gaming