One of Sony's inaugural batch of Sony-branded phones, the Xperia S is the device that had been rumored over the last few weeks as the Nozomi with a 4.3-inch 720p display. Today it's been officially announced, and the specs are designed to impress: besides the gap-free laminated Reality Display, the Xperia S features a 1.5GHz dual-core processor, a 12-megapixel Exmor R camera sensor, NFC support, PlayStation certification, and a unique "transparent element" along the bottom that offsets the solid black face. On paper, the phone is quite similar to AT&T's Xperia Ion — also announced today — but it lacks the Ion's LTE support (a sign of its European focus) and uses a slightly smaller display.

It'll be available in both black and white when it launches toward the end of the first quarter in "select markets." It'll have Android 2.3 out of the gate, unfortunately, but the Ice Cream Sandwich upgrade shouldn't take too long: Sony is promising it for the second quarter.