Sony’s 'magic' smartphone lets you navigate without touching the screen

Forget touch screens. You don’t even need to caress the screen of Sony’s “magical” smartphone to interact with it -- just hover your finger over the screen to navigate through the menus.

"Xperia sola comes with the power of Sony and a sense of magic with floating touch, giving consumers a fun new way to browse the web and latest technology to show off,” said Calum MacDougall, head of Xperia Marketing for Sony Mobile Communications. “With Xperia SmartTags out of the box and access to the latest content through Sony Entertainment Network, Xperia sola is perfect for consumers looking for ease of use and the best in entertainment in a smart and innovative smartphone."

The Android-powered device combines Sony’s new floating touch navigation with NFC and Xperia SmartTags to provide consumers with a unique smartphone experience. The two included SmartTags can be personalized with up to 10 different commands -- such as instructing your phone to turn on its WiFi connection and launch the news app when you walk into the living room or to switch to silent and turn on the alarm when you move into the bedroom.

The Experia sola is also equipped with a 3.7” Reality Display, a 1GHz dual-core processor, xLOUD and 3D surround sound, a 5MP camera with a 16x digital zoom, 720p video recording, DLNA, and Google Android 2.3 (upgradable to version 4.0).

As a deluge of mid-range Android-powered devices hit the market, smartphone makers are trying harder to differentiate their devices from the rest. Samsung has developed the Galaxy Beam (a smartphone with a built-in projector), Nokia has shown off a smartphone with a 41 MP camera sensor called the PureView 808, LG has released its second glasses-free 3D device called the Optimus 3D Max, and Japanese mobile provider NTT Docomo has even gone as far as to design a special smartphone case with a built-in breathalyzer.  

The Sony Experia sola (which will be called the Xperia sole in Italy and Xperia MT27i in China) will be available globally in the second quarter of 2012. No price has been announced.