Sony Ericsson's Xperia Mini, Mini Pro Smartphones Grow Its Android Efforts

Sony Ericsson has two new Android offerings with the introduction of the Xperia mini pro and Xperia mini-the smallest smartphone to offer HD video.

Sony Ericsson expanded its Xperia handset lineup by two, with the introduction of the Xperia mini and the Xperia mini pro. Both run the Android 2.3 OS, dubbed "Gingerbread," run 1GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon processors and feature 3-inch, scratch-resistant Sony Reality Displays with Mobile Bravia Engines and HD (720p) video recording.

Regarding that HD video-recording feature, Sony Ericsson is keen to point out that the Xperia mini is the smallest smartphone in the world to do so. The Mini pro's bragging points-or at least what sets it apart from the mini-are a slide-out QWERTY keypad and front-facing camera.

Steve Walker, Sony Ericsson's head of marketing, said the company was looking to offer consumers more range across the Xperia line-which includes the super-slim Xperia Arc and the PlayStation-certified Play smartphone it introduced at February's Mobile World Congress. Both run Google's Android OS.

"These turbo-charged smartphones now contain even more power, enhanced functionality, a larger screen and premium features unique to Sony Ericsson," Walker said in a May 5 statement.Both phones offer access to Google's Android Market, let users store up to 16 applications in the corners of the home screen and include a new Sony Ericsson integration called "Facebook inside Xperia," which will soon be extended to existing Xperia handsets. The feature is designed to integrate social connections throughout the phone "by making Facebook immediately accessible from the most used areas of the phone such as the picture gallery, music player, phonebook and calendar," according to the Sony Ericsson release.The Xperia mini pro pairs its dedicated keypad with a Microsoft Office Suite and McAfee antivirus software, so managing documents and emails is faster and easier, and a Type & Send functionality is designed to eliminate the need to open a dedicated application for each type of message a user wants to send.As with competitors such as Motorola, HTC and Samsung, a new focus on the Android OS has served Sony Ericsson well. On April 19, it announced the results of its first quarter, which included more than doubling its year-on-year smartphone sales, though a fall in feature phone sales brought down its overall total to 8.1 million units, from 10.5 million a year ago."Sony Ericsson's profitability continues as we accelerate our shift towards an Android-based smartphone portfolio, with smartphones comprising over 60% of our total sales during the quarter," Sony Ericsson CEO Bert Nordberg said in a statement.Nordberg added that the Play and the Arc were well received, but that the March earthquake in Japan had disrupted the company's supply chain and challenged it operationally."We will continue to evaluate the situation," he said.The Xperia mini and mini pro are expected to be available in select markets worldwide from the third quarter. Pricing has yet to be announced.