Sony Ericsson announces Xperia Arc with Mobile BRAVIA engine

Sony makes thousands of products. But despite the technological prowess, the Japanese company has done a pretty poor job of sharing knowledge between departments – until now. The new Xperia Arc smartphone takes all of Sony’s television and camera knowledge, condenses into a tiny form and squeezes into a handset of slim beauty.

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The most outstanding feature (of three impressive ones) is the camera. It boasts Sony’s award-winning Exmor R sensor that, coupled with the f/2.4 lens, enables the capture of high-quality, bright pictures and HD videos even in low light situations. Sony even boast that it’s best-in-class for low-light photography and video capture.

And those previously inaccessible low-light photos will look great printed, as the camera takes shots of up to 8.1 megapixels. Other features transferred from full-sized cameras include the 2.46x smart zoom, auto focus, face detection and LED flash, geo-tagging, image stabilisation, noise suppression, smile detection and HD recording at 720p. There’s even a HDMI-connector to plug into TVs and computer monitors.

After the camera, the “Reality Display” definitely deserves a mention. The phone’s screen earns the special title by using Sony Ericsson’s most advanced phone display technology: the mobile BRAVIA Engine. Inspired by the company’s high-end TV range, it should deliver a crystal clear image on the 4.2-inch. At 854 x 480 pixels, however, the resolution is still much lower than the iPhone’s 960 x 640 display.

All these two winning functions are crammed into the third impressive feature: a super slim body of just 8.7mm at its thinnest part – 0.7mm slimmed than the iPhone. The complete dimensions are 125 x 63 x 8.7 mm, with a weight of just 117 grams – 20 grams less than Apple’s flagship.

The phone will run Android 2.3, so full Flash support is guaranteed. It’ll also have a 1GHz Qualcomm processor, with support for a 32GB memory card. Internal memory is a bit sad though, just 512MB.

Out in the first quarter of 2011, you’ll be able to pick one up in either Midnight Blue or Misty Silver.

Sony makes a stand – the new hidden home cinema range

If you want the benefits of surround sound, but can’t be bothered with the faff of setting it all up, the latest range of Sony home cinema stands could be the answer.

Acting a bit like an iPod dock, the stand connects to the television via built-in wires and – hey presto – you have virtual surround sound without the need for rear speakers. This keeps things simple and helps your living room stay wire-free while you enjoy the latest movies and games to their best advantage.

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The science in the stand that makes all this possible is a combination of Sony’s S-Force PRO technology, which creates the surround sound experience, and an S-Master digital amplifier to keep the signal clear. These are packed into a compact unit, ensuring that the stand – designed to match the Bravia monolithic styling – remains slimline.

Available in three sizes to suit TVs from 32” to 60”, the stands have plenty of shelf space to store a DVD or Blu-ray player, cable or satellite box and games console, with three HDMI inputs and one output to accommodate all these other pieces of kit. The stands also incorporate a radio tuner and a media port to connect to an iPod or similar device.

You can run everything via the new Bravia internet widget, which calls up control menus to the TV screen. You can also choose which sound field suits you best from a choice of nine, including movie, sports and games. The stands will be able to handle any future upgrades too, as they can pass through 3D video from the latest Blu-ray players to new generation TVs.

The RHT-G5 has been designed for 32-inch to 40-inch TVs, the RHT-G11 can accommodate 42-inch to 52-inch models, while the RHT-G15 is suitable for sets up to 60 inches.

The two larger stands will be launched in May 2010, with the RHT-G5 following in June, although prices are yet to be released.