June 14, 2012 | by Andrew Kameka
AT&T has announced that it will add a new phone to its Android device line-up later this month when it begins selling the Sony Mobile Xperia Ion. First announced back in January at CES, then promptly tucked away while a parade of other Android devices emerged, the Ion will be the first Sony device to support 4G LTE when it goes on sale.
The Xperia Ion will cost $99 when AT&T begins selling it June 24. For that price, buyers will get a phone with a 1.5 GHz dual core processor, HDMI and DLNA connectivity, NFC-powered SmartTags, 16 GB of internal storage and up to 32 GB microSD slot, and dual HD cameras. The front-facing camera has 720p HD video chat, and the rear camera has a 12 MP lens with Exmor R sensor for better image and video quality.
The Xperia Ion also has a 4.6 inch 720p HD display with the Mobile Bravia Engine. From what I remember at CES, the display quality is very good, but that was based on limited hands-on time. We’ll soon get a chance to see the device up-close and personal fo an extended period. That will also give us time to see how the Ion stacks up as a gaming device since it’s PlayStation-certified.
AT&T failed to mention what version of Android the Xperia Ion will have at launch. The phone was running Gingerbread when we saw it in January and the failure to name a specific version has me believing that has yet to change. Sony told me in January that the Ion would be upgraded to ICS in Q3, but we’re in Q3 now, so one can only hope that the company manages to get Android 4.0 included at launch. (I’m doubtful but hopeful.)