Sony’s X’s: The launch of the Xperia X line KC Calpo February 25, 2016 News Yep, this year’s Mobile World Congress (MWC) is officially in full swing — and so far many of the tech brands we know and love have really been piling it on. Guess that’ll be enough to satiate us until the next cycle. Sony battled the other biggies for our attention on MWC’s first day, with its own hefty announcements from Sony Corporation President and CEO Kazuo Hirai, and Sony Mobile President and CEO Hiroki Totoki. This year, they represented with three brand-new smartphones, a smart in-ear device, a Bluetooth device for your car, and several products still in the concept stage. Let’s get on it, then. Experience the three Xperias The latest additions to the gorgeous Xperia line — the Xperia X, X Performance, and XA — makes me think the folks who named it are part of the Vin Diesel movie franchise or something. That, or they just really love that particular letter. Anyway. Most of the love during the event went to the Xperia X and the X Performance (which Totoki described as having the “ultimate speed and connectivity”), but we’re already assuming the XA (the “super mid-range” model) would do good here as well. Both the X and X Performance are equipped with an interesting feature for shutterbugs named Predictive Hybrid Autofocus — this combines object tracking and Sony’s Motion Prediction Engine for clearer and more defined photos, even if the subjects are in rapid motion. And both were given the brains to handle this workload and others: the X has a Qualcomm Snapdragon 650 processor, and the X Performance, a Snapdragon 820. Sony Xperia X As for the lackluster smartphone battery life, Sony’s Xperia X series has two tricks up its sleeve: a projected two-day battery life (yes, two days, somewhat like in the good ol’ days of Nokia) through Sony’s smart battery management system; and support for adaptive charging technology from Qnovo, which cuts down on the total charging time. If this two-day projection is true… well, goodbye, external battery packs! Some more details from The Verge: all three phones will ship with Android Marshmallow, the X Performance is waterproof, and the X and X Performance have 1080p displays and fingerprint sensors (the XA, 720p and sans sensor). All 5” Xperia X phones will be out by summer 2016 (for us, that’ll be within Q3). Xperiablog.net has published a helpful specs comparison of the three smartphones. Details are scant on pricing, but we expect it to be in the higher ranges. Your cutting-edge assistant Those who have the privilege of having assistants could complain about these people “being in their ear” the whole time. This particular assistant from Sony takes it literally — and goes right for that ear. The Xperia Ear connects to your phone via Bluetooth or NFC, and Totoki described it as “super-light” and made to be worn all day. Upon wearing it, the device will update you on the latest news; and your most recent messages, calendar events, and reminders. It also allows you to use vocal commands to make calls, send messages, and navigate your way around town. The BBC compared it to the speculative tech featured in the movie Her; extra points if this one actually has an AI with something similar to Scarlett Johansson’s voice. Sony Xperia X Performance Car commander Continuing the recent stream of new tech for automobile users, Sony’s RM-X7BT in-car Bluetooth commander gives you control over music streaming and smartphone usage while behind the wheel. This product comes in two parts: the adaptor that takes care of streaming and voice calls, and a commander unit that handles other aspects like navigation. Like the Xperia X series phones, this product will be out later this year. Current concepts The Sony show also mentioned three concept products, all of which we’re eager to see in actual production and sale. The Xperia Eye reminds us of the time when lifelogging was the touted “next” thing in tech. It’s a small, wide-angle camera you wear in front, either on your clothes or on your neck. It has a 360˚ spherical lens; and employs what Sony calls intelligent shutter technology (with face and voice recognition) for image capture. Sony Xperia XA Another assistant device, the Xperia Agent, is larger than the Xperia Ear, but functions in much the same way in terms of information streaming and communications. However, it’s much bigger than the latter, and can control home appliances. It can also capture and show additional details through a built-in camera and projector. Lastly, the Xperia Projector is an interactive interface that you can theoretically use on any clear physical surface. Digital Trends described the compact, Wi-Fi device as possibly Android-powered as well as fully autonomous, meaning you won’t need a smartphone, laptop or tablet to power or use it. Think of Minority Report, only without the prerequisite screen.