Sony’s new smartphone, the Xperia Ion, recently hit retailshelves in Canada.

The Ion features a 4.6-inch screen that sports an HDresolution of 1280×720 pixels. It’s also the first Sony phone to come with 4GLTE connectivity onboard, for those looking for peppy downloads.

It comes with a dual-core Snapdragon processor under thehood, two cameras (a 12-megapixel/1080p camera on the back and a 720p camerafacing frontwards), and HDMI output for driving an 1080p image to a large screentelevision. There’s 16 gigs of memory onboard, and a micro SD expansion slot ifyou want more storage.

Oh, and it comes with Android 2.3. That’s Gingerbread. Yep,three generations back from the current Android OS, Jelly Bean. Augh.

While there’s definitely a migration path for Ice CreamSandwich, this is definitely disappointing news for those looking for thenewest and best. While it’s true that Sony has already incorporated some of thefeatures in ICS into its Gingerbread-powered phones (such as screen capture,and fast photo capture), it may not be enough for some.

That said, the phone is still a tasty little device, withdesign and functionality that is similar in many ways to the recently-launchedXperia S; if you were already looking at the S but were waiting for LTE, thisone may well be worth a look…if you’re okay with waiting for the upgrade toICS.

While you can find the Xperia Ion at retail for $49 with athree-year plan, you can also buy it outright for $549 if you prefer to gomonth-to-month with no obligations.

Sony also showcased a couple of Android accessories at thesame time as the Canadian launch of the Xperia Ion, including the $30 Xperia SmartTags Near-FieldCommunication bundle (which I talked about earlier this week), and the SonySmartWatch. Both of these are manufacturer-agnostic…that’s right, you can usethem with handsets from other companies running Android 2.3.3 or better, afterinstalling the proper apps.

The $150 (or less) SmartWatch is a clip-on device that comes with arubberized watch strap, so you can wear it like a watch, or simply clip it to apiece of clothing (much like the current iteration of the iPod nano).

It connects to your smartphone using Bluetooth, and receivesupdates from the phone after you install a series of small free apps via GooglePlay, each of which adds to the functionality of the watch. The apps includeTwitter and Facebook, call-handling (so you can see who’s calling you with aglance at your watch), calendar alerts, media player controls, and more.

While the SmartWatch allows you to interact with your phonewithout having to take it out of your pocket – for instance, you can readentire Twitter or Facebook posts and then repost them with a tap right from thewatch – you may want to resist the urge to just sit there scrolling through contenton the watch, for two reasons: not only is it not an ideal interface for extensive content consumption, but…well,it just makes you look like a huge dork. (And this is coming from a guy whoused to own a calculator watch, too.)

 

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