Sony Ericsson will give its 2011 Xperia smartphone lineup the Android 2.3.4 "Gingerbread" upgrade this fall, along with improvements to the phone's social networking and camera capabilities.
The phone maker also unveiled the Xperia neo V Android smartphone, which will also include the Gingerbread bump and Sony's new features .
To accompany Gingerbread, Sony has also deepened integration with Facebook on the phone. This includes single sign-on, contact and calendar sync, as well as Facebook photo integration with the phone's photo gallery.
Sony also added 3D camera capabilities, though they require some additional effort and components.
While 3D has been fully baked into Android handsets such as the HTC Evo 3D 4G, Sony is using 3D sweep panorama technology. This allows pictures to be shot and then viewed in 3D by connecting the phone to a 3D TV using an HDMI cable.
Other features in Sony Xperia upgrade will include:
- The ability to let users turn their Xperia smartphone into a mini PC by connecting mouse, keyboard or game controllers via USB to the Sony Ericsson LiveDock multimedia station, or to a TV via HDMI.
- Swipe text input (a competing technology to Swype on Android handsets).
- Screen capture from anywhere in the phone, a valuable tool for Web publishers.
The Sony Experia upgrade, whose features are demonstrated in this video, will happen over the air. Sony said all Xperia owners will receive a notification instructing them to download the software via 3G or WiFi. However, users may also connect their Xperia handset to a computer to download it.
The Gingerbread upgrade, which will allow users to use Google Talk with video chat, will begin rolling out in October. That's right around the time Apple is expected to introduce its highly anticipated iPhone 5, possibly included on Sprint's 4G WiMax network.
The Xperia neo V, which will be available in silver, blue and white, will include a 3.7-inch touch screen with a 480 x 854 pixel resolution and will run on a 1GHz Snapdragon chip from Qualcomm. The phone's memory will span 320MB and memory card support up to 32GB.
The handset, which will also have a 5 megapixel camera and a front-facing shutter for video chat via Google Talk, will also be available globally in select markets in the fourth quarter this year. See its full specs here.