Sony's new phone has a touchscreen that doesn't require touching

Touchscreens are great until they get smudgy, oily and become the perfect breeding ground for bacteria. Sony's new "Xperia Sola" smartphone has a "magic feature" called "floating touch" that lets you hover your finger over a touchscreen. Does that sound better for your germ-free fingers? You betcha.

On the outside, the Xperia Sola fits right in with Sony's Xperia U, P and S family of Android smartphones, but take a deeper look at its screen — yep it's a freak.

In an attempt to bedazzle smartphone shoppers, the Sola will try to entice you to hover instead of touch your device's screen. In Sony's own words:

Making its smartphone debut exclusively on Xperia sola, Sony's unique floating touch lets consumers navigate the web by hovering their finger above the screen so it acts like a moving curser, without actually having to touch the screen. 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.

Aside from this neat little touch, the general bland specs of a 1GHz dual-core processor, 3.7-inch Reality Display, Android 2.3 (upgradable to 4.0 ICS) and NFC round out the Sola.

Still not sure if the hovering tech is worth your jar of saved pennies? Hit the play button on Sony's demo video below. It should make the feature a little more clear.

From what little the video demo shows, the technology seems to be a primitive form of gesture recognition and a bit slower than just touching the screen. We love when company's bring us new technologies, but if it's at the expense of functionality, we'll pass. Kinect in a phone, this is not.

It also remains to be seen just how much distance can be put between a finger and the touchscreen. The video demo shows rather close finger hovering. You might as well be touching the screen or your use touchscreen gloves.

Via The Gadgeteer

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