Sony to release low cost Xperia E in early 2013

Sony is set to release a low-end budget smartphone early next year, it has been announced.

The Sony Xperia E will sport a 3.5in display with a 320 x 480 pixel resolution as well as a single 3.2-megpixel rear-facing camera. The smartphone will also feature a 1GHZ processor and run on Android 4.1 Jelly Bean - a predecessor to the latest version, Android 4.2 Jelly Bean.

Sony is also pushing the Xperia E for its promising HD voice and noise cancellation that it says will improve phone conversations. The handset also features xLOUD audio technology and 3D surround sound for improved sound quality.

The Xperia E will be sold alongside the more premium Xperia T, which launched earlier in the year.

The phone could prove popular among consumers looking to buy a smartphone that doesn't break the bank. However, it still faces competition from other critically acclaimed budget handsets like the Google LG Nexus 4 (£239), Huawei Ascend G300 (£100) and new Nokia Lumia 620 (£150).

Sony has yet to reveal how much the handset will cost but speculation suggests it will debut at £120.