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Sony Xperia Sola introduces “floating touch” navigation

New touchscreen technology reduces greasy fingerprints by letting you select links without touching the screen

Hot on the heels of the launch of the Xperia S, Sony has announced a new Xperia phone, the Sola.

What sets the Sola apart is the new “floating touch” touchscreen interface. According to Sony, this allows you to control a cursor without touching the screen itself – you let your finger hover over the panel to move the cursor and select a link, and then tap to launch it. We imagine it would have to be quite sensitive, as trying to move your finger across a phone’s screen without touching it is actually quite difficult in practice.

The Sola will also be NFC-enabled, like many new phones, allowing you to trigger actions on your phone, such as toggling Bluetooth or Wi-Fi, by touching an NFC-compatible tag, which can then be placed where you need it. For example, you could associate a tag with turning on Bluetooth, and place it in your car so that when you get in, it turns on Bluetooth and connects to your hands-free headset.

More mundanely, it’s got a 3.7in, 480×854 screen which uses Sony’s Mobile Bravia Engine technology, and is powered by a dual-core 1GHz processor with 512MB of RAM. Sadly, it’ll run Android 2.3, with Android 4.0 “Ice Cream Sandwich” promised for “summer 2012”.

According to Sony, the Xperia Sola will be available in a choice of black, white or red at some point in the second quarter of this year. As a side note, the Sola will be marketed as the Sole in Italy – “sole” means “sun”, whereas “sola” means “only”. In China it will be known as the MT27i – yawn.

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