Mobile World Congress doesn’t officially get started until tomorrow, but a handful of technology giants couldn’t wait that long to kick off the show. Among them is Sony, formerly Sony Ericsson, and it looks like the struggling smartphone maker could have quite a show in store for us this year. Sony Ericsson posted a €247 million loss in the fourth quarter as its smartphone market share continued to decline. Now that the former joint venture is wholly owned, Sony is planning a renewed attack on the smartphone space that will likely be fueled by Ice Cream Sandwich and deeper integration with Sony’s wide range of consumer electronics devices. We’re certainly in store for a few new Xperia phones at today’s event, but will they offer the differentiation Sony needs to make a dent in today’s market? Sony’s press conference is set to kick off at 1:00 p.m. EST / 10:00 a.m. PST (7:00 p.m. local time in Barcelona), so hit the jump for all the action as it breaks.
1:27PM:Annnnnnnnd we’re done!
1:27PM:Sony plans to launch their largest brand advertising campaign ever. “Engaging consumers in new and engaging ways”. They really are stressing the “story” of these handsets, the “inspirational nature of the handests”, etc etc
1:26PM:Both new handsets launching Q2 of this year
1:25PM:Features personalized transparent element colors. You can change the illumination on the strip based on what app you’re using, what photo is on screen, etc. I.E. a yellow-hued photo will change the strip to yellow. Cool, we suppose, but useful? Hmmmm….
1:24PM:Annnnnd now we’re on to the Xperia U, the “compact baby” of the group
1:23PM:This new Smart Tags feature is actually cool, allows you to include certain applications and such into profiles, that give you a set of actions or macros to define by profile. IE profile 1 includes bluetooth on, music app launch, etc.
1:22PM:The Xperia P features Sony’s new “White Magic” display technology, that theoretically provides adaptive display brightness that should provide better outdoor viewing experience. It features fast-capture technology that allows for 1 second camera start-up time. It also allows for tv connectivity via the additional smart dock station. This should allow for HD content mirroring on a tv screen. It also allows for a wireless mouse and keyboard connection, a la the Motorola Atrix Dock…when will these guys learn…
1:20PM:Talking now about the integration of Playstation suite gaming features into the Xperia line
1:18PM:“The Xperia S is the smartphone that lets you experience everything in HD”…
1:17PM:The two new handsets will, of course, feature dual-core processors
1:17PM:Imaging technology will allow capture of 2D and 3D images, Xperia media players, and advanced gaming features
1:16PM:Sony is stressing their minimalist design approach to the nxt series, emphasizing the transparent bar at the bottom of each handset
1:15PM:These two handsets are part of the Xperia NXT series. The S is the big daddy, the P the middle pup, and the U is the baby
1:14PM:Announced today are the Xperia P and the Xperia U!
1:14PM:2012 recap: Xperia NX Launch in Japan, Xperia Acro HD, and the Xperia Ion launched at CES as the intro of the Sony Mobile brand to the US. Announced today, the Ion will be available outside of the US in the Summer of 2012. The Xperia has begun shipping around the world, available now in Sony Stores across Europe
1:11PM:Additionally, beginning today, Sony will offer access to Music Unlimited for Xperia users
1:11PM:Xperia users will continue to have exclusive access to the Video Unlimited service, allowing cross-platform content delivery
1:09PM:Annnd we’re back to Bert Nordberg!
1:09PM:He’s talking now about the integration of Sony Entertainment network content into their hardware line, in addition to the integration of their imaging and gaming knowledge. Looks like they’re getting ready to unveil some gaming-centric handsets
1:07PM:“Working tireless to deliver a unique user experience”…buzz words are awesome, aren’t they?
1:06PM:Hirai is talking up the strength of the digital imaging and gaming divisions, and noting that they’re going to be leveraging this experience into their Experia line
1:05PM:They’re welcoming Sony mobile as part of the “One Sony” team
1:04PM:Kazuo Hirai taking the stage
1:04PM:Stressing that this is the first press conference as Sony
1:02PM:Bert Nordberg CEO and President on stage now
1:02PM:This video intro certainly took a cue from Epcot Center. Cue motion sickness pills…
1:00PM:The lights have dimmed! We’re off!
12:56PM:5 minutes and counting…
12:54PM:“The presentation will begin in 10 minutes…” ok…some progress!
12:46PM:Tick, tock, tick, tock…
12:40PM:Don’t worry, we haven’t left you! Still waiting on Sony to get this thing moving
12:27PM:This room is turning into the press-conference equivalent of a clown car. How many people do they expect to cram into this space??
12:20PM:Sony sure knows how to keep a crowd in suspense though, again, the olives are a nice touch. Let’s hope the new Xperia announcement(s) can top these Tapas
12:15PM:We’re gonna party with some stuffed olives and wait for this thing to get moving
12:13PM:Entrance music is not good, but we’ll give Sony a pass for now
12:12PM:Appetizers all around. Lots of folks milling about, and there don’t seem to be nearly enough seats…
12:10PM:Annnnd we’re in!
11:50AM:Still waiting here in line. Let’s go, Sony!!
11:39AM:Now if only they’d let us inside…
11:38AM:Sony picked a beautiful venue for their event. The Palau San Jordi is amazing
11:34AM:Just pulled up into the line. Not a ton of folks here just yet but the queue is certainly growing!