Here’s another cool smartphone from Sony. Two years in, and the company appears to have hit a stride with its smartphone portfolio, churning out new Xperias on a consistent basis. And today is no different with the unveiling of the Xperia L, a mid- to low-end effort that places a heavy emphasis on the camera experience. Carrying on the Arc’s legacy, this 4.3-inch handset packs an FWVGA display, dual-core 1GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon S4, 1,700mAh battery, 8GB of internal storage (expandable via microSD), NFC and an 8-megapixel rear shooter with Exmor RS sensor into a conspicuously curved body rounded off with that signature Xperia power key.
Though it lacks the greater resolution and screen size of its 720p sibling the SP, this more budget-friendly device does enjoy an exclusive perk: HDR stills and video. A feature Sony’s included to make the L an attractive point-and-shoot option for budget-minded consumers concerned with style points and not LTE or raw performance. Unsurprisingly, it comes pre-loaded with a trio of Sony’s own media apps — Walkman, Movies and Album — a precedent it set at IFA last year.
Each week Ross Rubin contributes Switched On, a column about consumer technology.
If Chrome OS didn’t start out with an inferiority complex living in the shadow of the massive adoption of its cousin Android, and with Eric Schmidt dismissing the hardware that would run it as cheap and interchangeable, the hardware companies that were early to adopt it didn’t help matters. Chrome OS arrived on devices that weren’t priced competitively against then-popular netbooks.
Since then, though, the Chrome hardware story has been on a steady upswing. Thanks to Acer, Chromebooks broke the $200 price point. Thanks to Samsung, they made the leap to the ARM architecture, enabling longer battery life in a thin form factor. And thanks to HP and Lenovo, Chromebooks have joined the portfolios of two of the biggest names in corporate computing. While it may be nowhere near Android’s scale in terms of overall devices, Chrome OS is now offered by three of 2012’s top Windows PC manufacturers. That is certainly enough to show up on Microsoft’s radar. Into this fray comes the Chromebook Pixel and it has clearly learned from other successful ecosystems.
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