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Sony Ericsson cranks up Xperia Mini line with 1GHz CPUs

May 5, 2011 — by Eric Brown — from the LinuxDevices Archive — views

Sony Ericsson has upgraded its Xperia Mini and slider keyboard-equipped Xperia Mini Pro phones with faster 1GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon processors, larger three-inch screens, and Android 2.3. Claimed to be the smallest smartphones available that can play and record 720p video, the phones include all the wireless features of a big-screen phone, plus a five-megapixel camera and new Facebook integration features.

Until recently, one could generally judge a smartphone's overall feature set, processing power, and price from its screen size alone. It's still usually the case that bigger is better, but handset vendors are starting to mix it up a bit and meet the needs of those consumers who want powerful features but balk at the idea of a 4.3-inch slab.

Enter the Xperia Mini and Xperia Mini Pro — updates to last year's Xperia X10 Mini and Xperia X10 Mini Pro, respectively. While the X10 Minis offered 2.5-inch screens and Android 1.6 running on 600MHz Qualcomm processors, the new models drop the X10 from their names, expand to three-inch, 480 x 320 pixel touchscreens, and move up to 1GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon processors. (These are the same CPUs that drive Sony Ericsson's new flagship, the 4.2-inch Xperia Arc, and itsfour-inch, pseudo-PlayStation gaming phone, the Xperia Play.)


Xperia Mini 4

The Snapdragons enable the phones to run the five-month-old (but still hard to find) Android 2.3, and in the case of the Mini, play and record 720p video. The Xperia Mini is said to be the smallest phone to do so, measuring only 3.5 × 2.0 × 0.6 inches.

The slider-keyboard Mini Pro model bumps that up only a smidgen to 3.6 × 2.1 × 0.7 inches, according to Sony Ericsson. The Mini is much lighter, however, at 3.3 ounces, while the Pro's keyboard pushes the weight to 4.8 ounces.


Xperia Mini Pro

(Click to enlarge)

Note that Sony Ericsson appears to make the 720p claim only about the Mini and not the Mini Pro. However, according to an Engadget story, which points to a mostly positive hands-on report, both phones have 1GHz Snapdragons and five-megapixel cameras, so it's possible the Pro might offer similar capability. In fact, a Sony blog entry on the new phones appears to suggest this "HD" support extends to the Pro as well.

Both models ship with 512MB RAM, and offer internal flash up to 320MB on the Mini and 400MB on the Mini Pro, says Sony Ericsson. They each ship with a microSD slot, but only the Pro is listed with a default memory card size (2GB), said to be open to carrier variation.


Xperia Mini Pro with keyboard exposed

Both the Mini and Mini Pro feature five-megapixel cameras, but only the Pro offers a front-facing VGA camera. Other camera features for both include 8x zoom, LED flash, and a host of special features such as face recognition. The Mini is also said to offer barcode reading.

The new Xperia phones provide Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, aGPS, and FM radio, says Sony Ericsson. Cellular support is said to be offered for GSM and UMTS/HSPA 3G. 

The three-inch touchscreens on the Mini (pictured at right) and Mini Pro are said to use scratch-resistant glass, and are based on the company's crisp "Reality Display with Mobile Bravia Engine" technology. Battery performance is listed at 4.5 hours on the Mini and about 5.5 hours on the Mini Pro, says the company.

The phones provide Android Market support, as well as Google Maps, Google Mail, and some other Google apps. However, a Wayfinder app is offered for navigation instead of the Google product.

Special software for the Mini Pro includes a "Type & Send" features that eliminates the need to open a dedicated app for each type of message, and a "Smart Keyboard" feature that "triggers predictive messaging actions automatically when the user slides out the keyboard," says Sony Ericsson. The Mini Pro is also pre-loaded with Office Suite and McAfee antivirus software, says the company.

Both phones provide a new feature that will be soon be found in all the Xperia phones, called "Facebook inside Xperia." The software makes Facebook immediately accessible from all of the most frequently used areas, including the picture gallery, music player, phonebook, and calendar, says the company.

Stated Steve Walker, head of Marketing, Sony Ericsson, "We wanted to provide consumers even greater choice across the Xperia range, while building on the success of the original mini series."

Availability

Sony Ericsson's  Xperia Mini and Xperia Mini Pro will be available globally in selected markets from Q3. Considering the launch was in London and the phones sport GSM modems, the U.S. may not end up on the list.

Additional information on the Mini may be found on the Xperia Mini page, and more on the Pro may be found on the Xperia Mini Pro page.


This article was originally published on LinuxDevices.com and has been donated to the open source community by QuinStreet Inc. Please visit LinuxToday.com for up-to-date news and articles about Linux and open source.



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