Japanese electronics giant Sony has introduced its new Xperia Sola touch-free smartphone which would allow users to browse by just hovering a finger without touching the screen.
Company calls this technology as “floating touch” user interface and will release it by mid 2012.
Presently, electronic giants like Apple, Microsoft and mobile phone chip maker Qualcomm are working on camera-based touchless phone, which would allow the user to answer the call without touching the finger.
According to Sony, users hover their finger above links on the screen “so it acts like moving cursor, without actually having to touch the screen.”
Sony explained: “Once the desired link is found it can be highlighted and a simple tap will load the page. Floating touch will evolve with new user functionality and applications through software updates and engagement with developers.”
Calum MacDougall of Sony Mobile Communications and head of Xperia marketing named this new technology as “a sense of magic”. “The system gives consumers a fun new way to browse the web and latest to show off,” he added.
The new Xperia Sola comes with some distinct features of Sony’s NFC SmartTags that allows users to automatically perform basic phone functions, such as switching over to silent mode, when it is moved near a tag.
Apart from this, Sola is a 3.7 inch screen with Android OS 2.3 installed on the handset, upgradable to 4.0 this summer. It is a dual-core 1Ghz processor with a 5 mega pixel camera.
With Sony introducing its touchless smartphone to consumers, experts have come up with mixed reactions. Chris Barraclough, device editor at Mobile Choice magazine, said it is unclear how popular and practical the feature would be.
“It is certainly an original piece of technology and may be useful, for instance, when you r hands are wet, but we still need to see other practical implications of it,” he said.
However, Barraclough thinks that the feature may help users to eliminate fingerprint smudges. “I don’t think it will really help, just pulling your phone out of your pocket already leaves lots of smudges,” he added.
A Sony spokesperson said it is a mid range phone and would be priced accordingly.
Sources: BBC News, Geek.com, pcpro.co.uk