Sony Xperia Ion promotion begins

Sony is ready to tout its flagship smartphone the Xperia Ion.

The device was released to stores around the country yesterday and although it didn’t spark a lot of camping out at mobile stores, it is quite possibly the beginning of something big.

Sony Mobile Communications, a brand new division within Sony that developed after the company bought out Ericsson’s stake in the former joint venture Sony Ericsson, is aiming to get the budget-conscious consumer group on its side.

The Xperia Ion, one of the first devices that will launch with the “Sony Mobile” branding, costs just $99 with a new service agreement.

The Ion boasts a 1.5 GHz dual-core processor, 1 Gb of RAM, and 16 GB of built-in storage capacity. It has a front-facing camera capable of recording 720p video.

The rear-facing camera has a 12-megapixel resolution and according to Sony it can take pictures with a shot-to-shot time of less than one second.

Unfortunately, in an effort to keep the costs down, this phone does not ship with Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich). Instead, it is powered by the less powerful Android 2.3, Gingerbread, which is what most current Android devices use.

The Xperia S was the very first Sony Mobile device to hit the market, but that launched in Europe. The Ion will be the company’s first product here in the states. Sony hopes that its ability to integrate with other products and services will be what makes Sony Mobile a household name.

To highlight the power of a wholly Sony-owned mobile hardware company, the Xperia Ion’s promotional campaigns will reportely include videos of the phone playing movies like Spider-Man, music from Sony-licensed musicians, and Playstation video games.