Sony Xperia Ion On AT&T For $99 Late June
June 15, 2012

Sony Xperia Ion On AT&T For $99 Late June

Enid Burns for

On June 24, AT&T is set to begin selling the Sony Xperia Ion smartphone on its 4G LTE network. The Sony Xperia Ion is an AT&T exclusive, and will sell with a two-year contract for $99.99. The handset runs Android 2.3 Gingerbread, and has a 12.1 megapixel camera, among other features.

Sony showed the Xperia Ion at CES in January, but only just announced an availability date, and that AT&T would be the carrier for the handset. Android runs on the phone's 1.5 GHz Qualcomm Dual Core Snapdragon S3 processor. The Xperia Ion snaps photos with a 12.1 megapixel camera with a 16x digital zoom lens and LED flash. The camera is able to capture Full HD video, with some built-in extras from Sony's camera line.

The phone weighs in at 5.1 ounces. The handset measures 5.2 by 2.7 by 0.4 inches, with a 4.55-inch HD Reality display with touchscreen capabilities. The TFT screen is made from a scratch-resistant glass that displays up to 16 million colors with 1280 x 720 pixels. Sony's consumer electronics pedigree shows in the phone's connectivity options. The phone includes HDMI, USB, NFC, WiFi and Bluetooth to hook up, sync up and stay connected. The HDMI connection makes Xperia Ion's TV launcher available, which is a customizable home screen carousel of application shortcuts that lets users navigate the TV launcher, among other features.

For battery life, Sony boasts up to 10 hours of talk time; 400 hours standby time, and 12 hours listening time.

Xperia Ion joins the ranks of AT&T's 4G LTE phones on June 24. Those include the HTC Vivid, Samsung Galaxy S II Skyrocket, LG Nitro HD, HTC One X and Samsung Galaxy S III. AT&T is still building it's 4G LTE network, with the highest concentrations of the high-speed network's coverage on the coasts, though it seems to be spreading West as AT&T continues to expand its technology.

At E3, the video game trade show in Los Angeles earlier this month, Sony talked about extending its PlayStation platform from the console and its handheld PlayStation Portable to mobile phones with its PlayStation Certification program. The program certifies that certain mobile handsets are capable of PlayStation-quality gameplay, which means PlayStation games as well as mobile games will have the same quality players expect on PlayStation devices. It's likely that the Xperia Ion will have the PlayStation certification to say it can play high-quality games. The improved gameplay quality also means improved graphics and video on the handset.

The phone is on the radar of the wireless and consumer electronics industries. The new handset is a big play for Sony, which bought Ericsson out of its Sony Ericsson joint venture last year.

The Xperia Ion comes in a long line of Xperia phones from Sony, though some were previously part of the Sony Ericsson line-up. It follows several Xperia phones on the Android system such as Xperia Pro, Xperia Neo V, Xperia Active, Xperia arc S, Xperia ray and Xperia mini. Some of the handsets contained special features such as HD video and video chat while others focused on speed and rugged durability.