The Sony Ericsson Xperia Pro adds a QWERTY device to Sony Ericsson's new portfolio of Android handsets, joining the Xperia Play and the Xperia Neo announced at the company’s packed press conference opening Mobile World Congress 2011 in Barcelona.
Rumours and leaks had tipped us off to the Xperia Play and the Xperia Neo, but the Xperia Pro, codenamed Iyokan, has had a much lower profile.
We’ve seen a number of “pro” models from Sony Ericsson before - Xperia X10 mini pro, Vivaz pro - so it shouldn’t be a surprise to see it join the new collection, adding the option of a hardware keyboard to the Neo.
Essentially the Pro carries the same multimedia proposition as the Neo, but offers the slide-out keyboard, which is said to again be ergonomically designed. If you see the Xperia Neo as the new Vivaz, then this would be the equivalent of the Vivaz pro.
Of course Sony Ericsson has stepped up the game with its new devices, so the Xperia Pro comes with that Exmor R sensor, offering you an 8.1-megapixel camera and the Mobile Bravia Engine driving Sony’s “reality display”, playing to Sony's technology strengths.
We saw both these technologies in the Xperia Arc when it was launched at CES 2011 in Las Vegas and were very impressed with the results.
You get the latest version of Gingerbread, true of all Sony Ericsson’s new devices, so you get the benefits of all the latest Google goodness. There is also an HDMI to hook-up to your TV.
Specs are on par with the Neo - so that means a 1GHz Qualcomm chip inside and the Reality display with mobile Bravia engine (3.7-inches, 854 x 480 pixels).
Of course, the Xperia Neo goes up against the Motorola Milestone 2 and the HTC Desire Z, so we’ll have to see if Sony Ericsson's UI tinkering and ergonomic design can win keyboard fans away from HTC Sense and Motoblur.
It's due out in the end of Q2 2011 in "selected markets" in black, red and silver varieties.
There is a hint that the Xperia Pro is a business device, but there are plenty of consumers who want buttons too. No word on networks or availability, but we'll update you when we know.