Undeterred by the negative reaction to the Xperia S launching with Gingerbread on board, Sony is adding yet another smartphone to the ranks of Android 2.3 handsets: the Xperia Sola. It comes with an 854 x 480 TFT LCD display that spans 3.7 inches diagonally and touts Sony's Reality Display branding. There's also 8GB of built-in storage, NFC compatibility with Sony's SmartTags, a 5-megapixel camera with sweep panorama options, and a dual-core 1GHz NovaThor system-on-chip from ST-Ericsson. The latter is the same chip as Sony uses in its 3.5-inch Xperia U and 4-inch Xperia P handsets, with the 3.7-inch Sola fitting neatly in between the two. You can compare the full trio against the Xperia S using our product comparison tool.
A new feature Sony is introducing with the Xperia Sola is called "floating touch." It's specific to the web browser, where the phone will react to you hovering your finger above the screen as it would to a mouse cursor. You can highlight links by lingering above them, though you'll still need to tap to select them. In other words, Sony's straying dangerously close to gimmick territory.
An Ice Cream Sandwich (4.0) upgrade for this new phone is inevitably promised, though it won't be immediate as Sony expects to be able to deliver it "during summer 2012."
Red, white, and black color options will be available when the Xperia Sola goes on sale in Q2 of this year, with Italy and China receiving it under the slightly different monikers of Xperia Sole and Xperia MT27i, respectively.