The ST21i, codenamed 'Tapioca', for a little while now. This diminutive Sony handset is expected to grace the market with its presence in the coming months, stepping in as the new entry-level Sony, set to replace 2011's Xperia mini handsets.
The team at mobile-review.com have acquired a pre-release version of the ST21i, still branded with the now defunct 'Sony Ericsson' name and published an in-depth look at the phone, giving us a bit more information and photos.
First and foremost, the design takes a turn away from the 'Human Curvature' used by the likes of the Sony Xperia S, P and U, which we assume is to help differentiate the two tiers of devices, premium and low-end. The concave lip of at the bottom of the screen, underneath the three capacitive buttons also features on the unreleased Sony Xperia sola linking both devices under this new design language,
With regards to hardware, the Tapioca actually weighs in as a less powerful device overall against its 2011 predecessors with specs including an 800MHz processor in place of a 1GHz chip, a 3-megapixel camera in place of a 5-megapixel unit (as seen on the Xperia mini) which is only capable of capturing VGA quality video and a less capable GPU.
That being said, the Tapioca will be allegedly be the first Sony device to launch with Android Cream Sandwich on board and that modest hardware twinned with a 1450mAh battery, should offer users at least a day and a half of general usage between charges.
We're not so sure that with the hardware it offers a price point expected to be around €200 at launch is a competitive enough figure, when other companies are gearing up with equally capable and in some cases, more capable entry-level handsets at lower cost. It'll be a case of letting consumers decide just how important the new Sony Mobile name is to them.