ICS update lets you use Xperia™ sola with your gloves on [video]

If you’ve ever tried to use your smartphone in the freezing cold, no doubt you’ve had to take your gloves off in order to use it. Or maybe you’ve spent money on special smartphone gloves with finger flaps. Well, keep your money, stick to your old gloves and wave goodbye those cold fingers! With the new Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS) update for Xperia™ sola, you’ll find a new feature called glove mode, which is an extension of the Floating touch technology. As you might guess, this makes it possible to use the touch screen even though you’re wearing gloves. In this article, we explain the benefits of glove mode, and talk to Andreas Sandblad at Sony, who’s the inventor of this technology. Read on for the full story!

Keep your fingers warm with glove mode
When we first unveiled Xperia sola, this also marked the introduction of a new technology never before seen in any smartphone called Floating touch. This technology lets you highlight the links in the web browser without even touching the screen. Now, with the Xperia sola ICS update, you’ll find a new extension of Floating touch™, called glove mode, which lets you use your Xperia™ sola with your gloves on.

Andreas Sandblad, software architect at Sony and inventor of glove mode, explains how he came up with the idea for glove mode:

I came up with the idea during a brain-storming session at the office, where we were discussing what cool features we could use Floating touch™ for. I’m much of an outdoor person myself, who likes to hike in the mountains, and I guess I was trying to solve the frustrating real world problem of not being able to use my phone with gloves. Turns out other people felt the same thing, and here we are. I really think glove mode is a must have.

Andreas Sandblad, software architect at Sony and inventor of glove mode.

How it works
Glove mode is enabled by default in the ICS upgrade for Xperia™ sola, so when you unlock the phone while wearing a glove (or with a bare finger in the air), you will enter glove mode and Floating touch™ mode will be disabled. In this mode, both glove touch and normal touch usage will work, for example, if you take off the gloves. There is also a cursor ring shown where you press the screen with your glove, to help you understand where you are actually pressing the screen. To turn off glove mode, you simply lock the screen and then unlock it with your bare finger touching the screen and you’re back to normal mode with Floating touch™ enabled.

Screenshot showing the cursor ring that guides you when using glove mode.

The solution to detect glove mode when you’re unlocking the screen is a quite clever concept, because it allows the phone to support both glove mode and normal mode supporting Floating touch™ – what mode is entered is decided by how you unlock the screen. In glove mode we support gloves and normal touch, while in non-glove mode applications can use the Floating touch™ API (a tutorial for using this API will be published soon).

To make it possible for you to use the touch screen with a glove, the Floating touch™ events that are generated when you are touching the screen with a glove (or hovering over the screen) are rewritten as normal touch events. As you may have figured out already, it is the finger inside the glove, and not the actual glove, that the touch screen reacts to.

To get an accurate behaviour and make sure the UI only reacts when the glove is actually touching the screen and not when just hovering above the screen, some clever algorithms are used to filter the Floating touch™ event stream (depending on the glove texture thickness) before rewriting them as normal touch events. This way, you are not generating a lot of accidental touch events on the screen, while wearing a glove.

Demonstration of glove mode on Xperia™ sola with ICS update.

If you like, you can disable the auto-detection of glove mode in the phone Settings, under Display:

Glove mode setting.

So next time there is an incoming call when it is cold outside and you are wearing gloves, you can impress your friends by picking up the phone and answering the call with your gloves on!

And for all developers out there, you will have the possibility to use Floating touch™ in your apps with the Floating touch™ API. Stay tuned to Developer World, we have more information and a tutorial coming up in the next couple of weeks!

More information

What others say about this:

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  1. By Mamun Hasan


    My Google play is unable to download any application or update. It shows downloading and then after some hours shows error downloading 495. I am using Xperia sola and android version is 2.3.7. Also I can’t update my device to ICS. I am Bangladeshi.

  2. By Prakash Sukhwani


    I am unable to update my sony xperia sola mobile form 2.3.7 to ics 4.0.1 or any version which is available, I had tried from both the ways i.e form sony update centert an via sony pc companion, Build no that is in my device is 6.0.B.3.184, Kernel version , BuildUser@BuildHost #1, Baseband Version u8500-49020604-R1g_EC14, i contacted sony customer care but they are also answerless. Please help

    • By Anna Aleryd


      Hi Prakash,

      Sorry for taking so long to answer. And I’m sorry to hear that you’re having troubles updating your Xperia™ sola. It is really hard for me to say what’s wrong, but have you tried asking at the support forum? Please feel free to keep me updated and I will try to make sure you get help.

      Anna from Developer World

  3. By Radel Baniqued


    My xperia sola having a problem on its camera capture button. When i press this button it doesn’t work (does not capturing any images or videos)..but the system is fine when i use the touch focus capture mode.. is there a probelm on my sola hardware?pls. Help me…

    • By Sai Kumar


      its not a problem every thing is with your setting.
      Try this.
      open camera—> settings—> capture mode.
      now change the mode as you need and u can use the “Camera Key Only” Option.

  4. By Pratik Sanglikar


    I recently updated my Xperia Sola to ics, but there are some major bugs in the update you have provided. I hope you will try to fix them in your next update. I am listing out some of the major bugs here.
    1. Screen is well responsive to touch in normal mode but when I connect my charger to the phone, it becomes irresponsive, I can’t even unlock my phone when charger is connected… This was not a issue in GB… Please work on this major bug….
    2. Instead of increasing the speed after ICS update, my device has became icreadibly slow that it even doesn’t open phone book or any Damn app, even to unlock the screen it takes 25-39 seconds. I have to use a third party app to kill the processes to speed up my device after some interval.
    3. Battery consumption is also increased that the battery won’t last for more than 7hours once charged. It was better in GB.
    I look forward to get the next update with all these bugs fixed.

  5. By Paul Vincent Carranza Pasia


    hello sony! im having the same issue with Bibhu Mohanty on my new experia p.i bought this 2 weeks ago and after i updated to ICS OS,the battery wont last 4 hours.i use facebook,instagram and text messaging only but the battery drains very fast..it didnt happen before when im still in GB OS..please help as i am planninng to buy experia phone again this coming december..thanks and more power!!

  6. By AhsAn Wasim


    In sony ericson Xperia Ray how to take screenshot after ICS update??

  7. By Jerry PS


    I have up date ICS for my xperia today. But my xperia sola work slower than GingerBread. User Interface ICS soo cool, but not the performance. More powerful work on Gingerbread.

  8. By petr burda


    me failed after two weeks I still update from Slovakia and I am very nervous as it is the update to Slovakia?




    I updated the firmware to ICS yesterday. However I’m noticing some drawbacks. For example the floating touch does not work anymore on my phone. Also, there is a lag when I try to open the Dialer and phone. Incoming phone calls sometimes show the number only and only upon answering, the name will show. This was never an issue with gingerbread.

    When I type text msgs there is also a lag and it seems to take it’s time.

    Please advise if there is a fix in the works for the issues listed above.


  10. By Norman Malones


    I’m from the Philippines and up to now it still does not give me the update. I tried both OTA and using the update service but still i don’t have the update. I have SI 1261-5898.

    • By Anna Aleryd



      For questions about when a specific market or model will get the ICS update, please head over to our support forum.

      Anna from Developer World

      • By Norman Malones


        I see. Thanks.

  11. By Aman Batra


    I have Xperial Sola. When I connect it with PC companion it says that my software is already up to date. But I am having 2.3.7 till date. How to get the ICS update as I can see in the chain of comments that ICS is rolled out since 1st October?

  12. By Tu-Duc La


    Since updating to ICS, I’ve experienced same issues across the Xperia range, S, P and especially Sola.
    Dialer and phone book sometimes take a long time to open up. Incoming phone calls sometimes show the number only and only upon answering, the name will show. I only have about 230 contacts, and it was never an issue on gingerbread.
    Sola specific issues: Chrome browser doesn’t seem to run well on the sola, extremely slow when typing. Keyboard could partly be the culprit?! I’ve changed to gingerbread keyboard from the market and it ironed out some lag issues on browser and SMS. Glove mode useless for sunshine countries like Australia, and can’t be disabled in lots of games. Really tempted to revert back to gingerbread.

  13. By Bruce Wayne


    hey, i updated my Xperia sola with ICS n it has started to process very very slowly. Although it has some new features that i like , but man it takes very long time to do anything. Even for the lock screen, when i press button of lock key on mobile, it takes about 20-25 secs to display light to the screen, then when i unlock it, the screen gets unlocked in 10-13 secs. Its having same issues with all the other apps.

    Plzz help me SONY people. This type of performance of ICS makes me thinks that Gingerbread was a better os……

    Plzz help me soon..

  14. By Avtar Singh Lall


    hi sony
    u need to give this floating touch feature in high end phones and please do some thing with screens hard and slippery touch