Sony Ericsson has introduced the newest addition to its Xperia smartphone line, the super-slim Xperia Arc. Unveiled at the 2011 Consumer Electronics Show, the phone runs Android 2.3, a 1GHz Qualcomm processor and measures 8.7 mm-or approximately 0.34 inches-at its thinnest point.
As for the name, the phone is designed to "fit perfectly in the user's hand," says Sony Ericsson, and has the slimmest curve, noticeable mostly in profile.
It'll begin shipping globally to select markets-Japan included-during the first quarter of this year, in Midnight Blue and Misty Silver.
"We're starting strong in 2011 by introducing our most exciting Xperia product yet," Sony Ericsson President Bert Nordberg said in a statement. "Xperia arc combines state-of-the-art Sony technology with breathtaking design to entertain and wow consumers. All of the latest Android release."
The phone is outfitted with a 4.2-inch capacitive multitouch display (made of shatter-proof, scratch-resistant glass) and Sony's Mobile Bravia Engine for "the ultimate multimedia and viewing experiences." Its 8.1-megapixel camera includes Sony's award-winning Exmor R mobile sensor with an f/2.4 lens for photographing and video recording in low light, plus auto focus, face detection, geo tagging and HD video recording at 720p. There's also a media browser, video streaming, and support for 3D gaming, as well as e-mail, messaging and Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync.
Connectivity options include assisted-GPS, Bluetooth, WiFi and USB support, and there's turn-by-turn navigation from Wisepilot. With the HDMI slot, users can share HD video with an HDTV, there's a slew of Google mobile services, such as Gmail and Google Talk, and easy access to the Android Market.
In an October report on smartphone shipments during the third quarter of 2010, Strategy Analytics analyst Neil Mawston grouped Sony Ericsson with Motorola and LG Electronics and described them as having missed "much of the boom in premium 3G smartphones." Going forward, however, Mawston warned that the top players will need to watch their backs, as Sony Ericsson and the like are finding their strides.
"There is a long tail of second-tier players emerging who are knocking on the doors of the top five players," Mawston wrote. "ZTE, Sony Ericsson, Motorola, Huawei and Alcatel are all shipping volumes that are within touch distance of the leading group."
The quarter also saw smartphone growth increase by 90 percent, compared to a year earlier. To keep up with consumer demand, IDC analyst Ramon Llamas wrote in a Nov. 5 report, vendors are emphasizing the smartphones in their portfolios, which has resulted in "sharp growth, as evidenced by Motorola, Samsung and Sony Ericsson." He added, "We expect more vendors to do the same."