Sony Xperia Ion media dock hands-on: Android on your TV with HDMI-out

Considering the flood of announcements coming from Sony Mobile this week, it doesn’t surprise me that the media dock that will be released with the upcoming Xperia Ion has been so overlooked. After all, when you’ve got two major phone releases to prick and prod, it’s easy to not pay attention to the accessories that will come with them.

The Sony Media Dock pairs with the Xperia Ion through the special connectors on the left side of the phone. The dock can then connect to a television through an HDMI dock and showcase Android on a larger screen. Rather than just mirroring what appears on-screen, Sony has developed a special UI to appear during that media mode, and added integration that makes the dock remote-controllable. You can manage media without having to get up and touch the phone.

Like most television UI’s, the media dock has a simple row of icons at the bottom that scroll horizontally. Users can select apps like YouTube to watch their favorite videos, Video Unlimited to use Sony’s media service, or Gallery to load their photos. It even lets users add apps to appear on the list, allowing users to create a smarter TV with the aid of a phone and dock. As long as you don’t have DRM on your video, and a file is compatible when played on the phone, you should be good to go.

Here’s a demo showing how the dock works. Pricing has not been announced, but Sprint tells us that the dock will be available when the Xperia is released, so we can expect to see this in a few months. Considering that Sony also plans to upgrade the Xperia Ion to Ice Cream Sandwich, the way some apps appear may differ when released.