By Patrick Avenell

Sony Ericsson has today announced that the Xperia Neo will be available in Australia exclusively through Telstra on 26 July 2011.

Running Android 2.3 (Gingerbread) off a Qualcomm 1GHz Snapdragon processor, the Xperia Neo has a 3.7-inch FWVGA touchscreen (841×480) that Sony Ericsson describes as a “Reality Display with Mobile Bravia Engine”.

The Neo has 320MB of built-in memory, expandable by MicroSD (8GB included), an 8-megapixel camera with HD video recording, USB data transfer and charging, HDMI support, DLNA, GPS services and a 3.5mm headphone jack. The supplied measurements are 116mm x 57mm x 13mm. The Xperia Neo weighs 126 grams.

In addition to all the usual Google features on an Android smartphone, the Neo also has some advanced social networking features, such as Facebook inside Xperia. This program allows users to share content in new and unique ways, according to the release. For example, when listening to a song on the Neo, users can hit ‘Like’ on the music player to instantly post that recommendation to their Facebook Wall.

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On the same day that Telstra exclusively launched HTC’s multimedia specialist the Sensation, Telstra director of mobile products Andrew Volard did his best to talk up Xperia’s non-media features.

“The Sony Ericsson Xperia Neo is ideal for people who want to create, share and enjoy high-quality video and photos,” said Volard “Xperia Neo owners will also be among the first to benefit from the clarity of HD voice calling which was recently launched on our network.

“It’s the mobile voice equivalent of switching from standard to high definition TV and delivers crystal clear calls making it easier to chat with mates, even when they’re in crowded or noisy environments.”

The footnote to that last sentence is that both parties in the phone call must be using an HD compatible handset on the Telstra Next G network.

Sony Ericsson head of marketing for Oceania, Tim Barnes, was also keen on HD calling, as well as ergonomics.

“We are excited to team up the most entertaining smartphone with the world’s largest HD voice network from Telstra,” he said. “Xperia Neo truly delivers with the visual brilliance of Sony, the latest version of Android and the best in smartphone entertainment, all ergonomically designed to fit perfectly in the user’s hand.”

The Xperia Neo will be available for $0 upfront on a $59 plan over 24 months (minimum cost is $1,416), through Telstra’s Freedom Connect plans.

The new Sony Ericsson Xperia Neo.