AT&T said Thursday that it will be exclusively launching Sony's latest 4G LTE Xperia smartphone June 24 at a price of $100 for customers signing two-year service contracts.
Called the Sony Xperia ion, Sony's Android smartphone features a 4.6-inch HD color screen, together with 12-megapixel front-facing and lower-resolution rear-facing cameras.
Devices such as the Sony Xperia ion, HTC One X and Samsung Galaxy S III are enabling a sea-change in personal photography that can change the way we picture our lives, said Jeff Howard, executive director of device product management at AT&T Mobility.
"The Xperia ion's 12-megapixel fast capture camera and quick launch feature is great when you need to catch life's unexpected moments," Howard wrote in a blog Thursday.
"It has a dedicated camera button and 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," Howard said.
Banking on Brand-Name Fame
Sony completed its acquisition of Ericsson's 50 percent share in their joint Sony-Ericsson handset venture in February. The Sony Xperia S -- the first smartphone from the newly created Sony Mobile Communications business to have the Sony brand name -- launched in the United Kingdom, Japan and other countries overseas, but wasn't picked up by any of the top wireless carriers in the U.S.
With the launch of the new Xperia ion, Sony hopes to capitalize on the good standing of the company's sterling brand name in the U.S. A recent consumer survey released by Strategy Analytics found the popularity of the Sony brand (29 percent) second only to Samsung (41 percent).
"In spite of its significant financial losses in its Consumer Electronics segment, Sony still has strong brand equity, which could serve as one of its greatest assets for a potential turnaround," said Jia Wu, director of connected devices research at Strategy Analytics.
By contrast, Apple's technology brand preference rating among the survey's 6,000+ U.S. and European consumer participants stood at 19 percent. Though Apple was the second-most popular brand with under-20s consumers, the iconic device maker only ranked 10th with those older than 65.
The Xperia ion is powered by a 1.5-GHz dual-core processor and 16 GB of internal memory , together with GPS location and Bluetooth wireless connectivity chips. The device's microSD expansion slot also supports up to 32 GB of additional storage capacity. (continued...)