Sony's new phone line has been making waves – we quite liked the Xperia S. Now we've got another entry, the Xperia Sola aka the Pepper, touting something called "floating touch" for "magic web browsing without touching the screen", because dragging your finger on glass is just so last year.
The Sola fits nicely within Sony's new design aesthetic – it's unmistakably an Xperia measuring up at 116 x 59 x 9.9 mm and 107g. It packs a 1GHz dual-core chip backed up with just 512MB of RAM; 8GB of internal storage; a 3.7-inch 854×480 screen; a five-megapixel rear shooter, and both xLOUD and 3D surround audio to boost its music prowess. On the connectivity front it's equipped with the usual load-out: Wi-Fi; Bluetooth; GPS; NFC with "SmartTags", plus an FM radio to boot. It'll also come with direct access to Sony's new Entertainment Network, but unfortunately is another Android 2.3 Gingerbread throwback. Sony's promising an upgrade to Ice Cream Sandwich "during summer 2012", which sounds like quite a while to wait to me.
Anyway, the biggest thing about the Sola is Sony's new "floating touch navigation", which allows you to essentially hover your finger over the screen rather than touch it to act a bit like a cursor. Apparently you'll navigate the screen hovering your finger above it; once you've got a link selected, a single tap will be enough to launch it (check the video below for a demo). I'm not quite sure how much better this is going to work than just actually touching the screen – a single tap on a link normally launches it on most phones. Still, it's a novel idea and I'll be interested to see it working in the flesh.
It seems Sony's broken away from the single letter naming scheme with the Sola, which'll be available in three colours, black, white and red in the second quarter of the year for an undisclosed sum. [Sony]