Sony Xperia Touch projects Android tablet onto any surface; Xperia Agent is voice-activated media assistant
Sony has demoed two conceptual devices at Mobile World Congress (MWC): the Xperia Touch and the Xperia Agent, both of which aim to change the way people interact with media in their homes.
The Xperia Touch consists of a projector coupled with lasers and infrared sensors. The device effectively projects an Android tablet onto any surface and can detect where the user’s hands are in order to allow them to interact with the device.
The device seemed very responsive to user touches during our hands-on first look, although the sensation of touching a table top was not as satisfying an experience as the smooth glass screens found on traditional tablets.
Even under the bright lights of MWC, the display was very readable albeit slightly washed out. A Sony representative said that it could be used on surfaces with a variety of different colours, although a white surface was preferable.
It ran on batteries, so could in theory be used while travelling, for example on a train table, although the representative was cagey about how long the battery would last.
The Xperia Touch is due to be released in the spring, with a projected cost of €1,599 (£1,366).
Sony also showed off its voice-activated home media assistant, the Xperia Agent. The cylindrical device has a pair of “eyes” above an Android powered touchscreen and is designed to be placed in the centre of a living room and interface with the user’s television sets and hi-fi.
It responded impressively to voice commands, even in the loud, bustling Sony booth at MWC. However, its responses were sometimes unintelligible which was blamed on problems with the local WiFi network.
Media was quickly slung back and forth between the Agent and the television set and previews sometimes appeared on its small screen.
At this point the Agent is just a prototype and there is no expected release date so far. Although the concept is interesting, it is similar to Google Home or Amazon Echo, devices that are already on the market, albeit with jazzed up features and a more human-like interface.