New Xperia handsets launched in PH; PlayStation phone to arrive soon

Posted at 04/01/2011 12:02 PM | Updated as of 04/06/2011 9:57 AM

MANILA, Philippines - Sony Ericsson expanded its line of Xperia smartphones in the country as it unveiled 2 new phones early this week.

Both the Xperia arc and Xperia neo run on Google's Android 2.3 operating system (Gingerbread) and on a Mobile Bravia Engine, the same brand behind Sony's high-definition liquid-crystal display (LCD) televisions.

The 2 phones also have an 8.1-megapixel camera, an Exmor R sensor which allows for high-quality photos and videos in low light conditions, and a high-definition multimedia interface (HDMI) connector to allow users to share content on a larger HD screen.

Patrick Larraga, Sony Ericsson Philippines' marketing manager, said the new features are part of the company's plan to make the Xperia range the top choice of consumers who are looking for an Android-run smartphone.

This as the Android market grew by around 21% last year, he said, citing a study by Frost & Sullivan. The same study also noted that 54% of all mobile devices sold in the Asia Pacific region are expected to be smartphones by 2015.

"Smartphones are expected to hit 137 million (units) in 2011. We want to be the number 1 manufacturer of Android globally," Larraga told reporters during the launch.

The Xperia arc has a 1 Gigahertz (GHz) Qualcomm processor with a phone memory of up to 512 megabytes, and up to 32 gigabytes of memory card support.

The phone has a 4.2-inch multi-touch scratch-resistant screen, is 8.7 millimeters at its thinnest part, and weighs only 112 grams.

Unlike its previous high-end handsets such as the Satio, the Xperia arc is priced a bit lower at P29,990.

This as more companies are bringing down the cost of their phones to make these more accessible to Filipinos, said Sony Ericsson Philippines' product group marketing manager Vincent de la Cruz.

The Xperia neo, on the other hand, is meant to be a low-cost alternative to the Xperia arc. The Greenheart phone, made of recycled plastic and has no printed manual, has almost the same features and is priced at P22,750.

Both handsets will be made available to the Philippines starting this month. Buyers of the new Xperia smartphones get 3 free HD game titles from Sony Ericsson's list of 10 for free until June 30.

Meanwhile, de la Cruz assured Filipinos that the Xperia Play, the long-awaited PlayStation phone, will soon hit the country. A date, however, has yet to be set.

"There's no exact date yet. But we'll certainly have it here," he said.

De la Cruz said Sony Ericsson Philippines observed a huge demand for the Xperia Play in the country, with many people inquiring about the phone via the Internet and the company's call center.

Asked about the price of the first PlayStation-certified Android smartphone, he said, "Perhaps around arc's price."