AT&T officially confirmed the pricing of its new Xperia Ion smartphone. The manufacturer's first 4G LTE handset, the device will cost $99.99 and ship to stores beginning June 24.
Since the Android-powered Xperia Ion won't run Ice Cream Sandwich but Android 2.3 Gingerbread, many hard-core Android fans aren't likely to be impressed. Neither will people who have been waiting for a U.S. version of Sony's NXT line, the Sony Xperia P, Xperia S, or Xperia U. The Xperia Ion lacks much of the style DNA found in its flashy international cousins.
For example, the Ion doesn't have a slick-looking clear bar bisecting the grip of the phone that glows when system alerts occur. There's no distinctive two-tone silver-and-black color scheme, either. Instead the handset is a monolithic block of glossy black plastic.
Even so, the Xperia Ion features a 12-megapixel main camera, HDMI port to output video and audio to HDTVs and other AV gear. A big 4.6-inch 720p (1,280x720 pixels) HD LCD screen graces the device's front, and driving everything is a 1.5GHz dual-core processor paired with 16GB of internal memory. Thankfully there's also a microSD card slot for extra expansion.
Sony also takes great pains to point out the Xperia Ion connects to the company's Music Unlimited music download service. In fact a 30-day trial account will come with the phone offering a library of 12 million songs. Sony's Video Unlimited also serves up movies and TV shows to both rent and buy.
Lastly the Ion is billed as PlayStation-certified. This doesn't mean the Xperia Ion can play Sony PSP or PlayStation Vita games, just that the phone can handle specially branded Android game titles Sony has cooked up. Be sure to check back soon for a full review of Sony Xperia Ion.