The Sony Ericsson Xperia Ray was first unveiled at a global event in Singapore, in June (same time as CommunicAsia 2011) and is scheduled to launch in Q3 this year. Find out in the next pages on the design, concept and engineering of the Android smartphone as we bring the coverage from Tokyo, Japan.
The upcoming Xperia Ray took about one and a half year to develop from product conceptualization to launch, though along the way, changes and adjustments have to be made to meet users' requirements. You must be thinking, with so many phone manufacturers coming up with display of 4-inch and larger, Sony Ericsson is going to launch one with a smaller 3.3-inch screen. Well, apparently, the Xperia Ray is designed for youths (with the majority at females) and it promises something unique and stands out with good quality design, features and is easy to use. Another reason is also because it is more of a Japan and Asian-focused phone.
Weighing a mere 100g, the 9.4mm slim Android phone is available in four colors – black, white, gold and pink – and Sony Ericsson design team explained the color choices. Black is Xperia's signature color with a matte soft exterior which adds to the solidity of the product, while white gives a modern fresh look with emphasis on the metal part of the phone. Gold is a premium color that gives a sophisticated elegance though it is toned down to be less striking to the eyes, and pink is expressive, young and vivid. However, the black flavour is not available in Japan and it is the only one with matte exterior while the other trendy colors are high gloss.
So how did the company come up with the name Xperia Ray? The name is taken from the Japanese "rei", of the word Ki-rei which means beauty, elegant.
Here we see the Xperia Ray (left pic) placed side-by-side with the Xperia Arc. The circuitry and PCB area on the Xperia Ray is significantly reduced compared to the Arc, and even the battery for the Ray is smaller but slightly thicker. Note that even though the battery for Xperia Ray is smaller, it has the same 1500mAh rating to that of the one used in the Arc.
The Sony Ericsson Xperia X10 on the left has a display with defined edges when the power is off. But for the Xperia Ray, the display is true black and looks more seamless. According to the company, the Xperia Ray has an 25% increased brightness to the Xperia Arc, even though both feature Reality Display with Mobile BRAVIA Engine technology. Unfortunately, for its small footprint, the Xperia Ray does not have the HDMI output or camera shutter button which are found on the Xperia Arc.
At the event (from left) were Tetsuya Okuchi, mechanical design leader; Linda Lissola, color and material senior designer; Shigeaki Suzuki, design manager, industrial design; Kozue Tanaka, product planner; Tatsu Nishimura, product manager; Yoshio Kawahara, electronics design leader; and Ryuichi Arai, radio design leader of Sony Ericsson Japan.
According to Tanaka, the most important point for the Xperia Ray's design is the metal part which can be seen on the sides of the Xperia Ray, which not only gives a premium feel to the phone but also gives the slim form factor; the thickness is just 9.4mm. In order to appeal to feature phone users, high specifications is necessary. Thus, it was decided to re-use all of the new technologies for viewing and capturing – the Mobile BRAVIA engine for viewing quality images and Exmor R for imaging sensor from the flagship Xperia Arc. So it can be said that all the high-end features of the Xperia Arc are integrated into the smaller, compact Xperia Ray.
The Sony Ericsson Xperia Ray will be available in Japan on 27 August at 37,000 yen (approximately US$482) with two year contract. Availability and pricing details have yet to be released for other countries.