Sony has been showing off its conceptual short-throw projector tech for some time, but now the company is finally putting its money where its mouth is. The Xperia Touch will go on sale later this spring, bringing a new way for consumers to interact with gadgets and potentially giving Sony a way to do for touch interaction what Amazon Alexa did for voice control.

IBTimes UK was treated to a brief hands-on with the Xperia Touch during a closed-door media briefing in London, prior to Mobile World Congress 2017. Even here, Sony was eager to keep a lid on the hardware specifics and the technology until after it has publicly unveiled the Touch in Barcelona.

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Xperia Touch short throw projector display
The Xperia Touch turns any surface into an interactive display. IBTimes UK

To give a very simplistic overview, the Xperia Touch is a portable projector that turns any flat surface into a 23in HD touchscreen. The device features sensors capable of tracking precise finger movements so you can interact with it much the same as you would with a smartphone.

It also contains many of the basic ingredients of a mobile device, such as built-in storage (32GB), wireless connectivity and an integrated camera.

While it's a self-contained system, the Xperia Touch features USB-C and micro HDMI ports that allows you to hook it up to a TV and route the display through the projector. It supports PS4 Remote Play too, letting you to use it as a second screen for playing PS4 games with a DualShock 4 controller.

Xperia Touch projector device
Measuring 69 x 134 x 143mm, the projector is highly portable IBTimes UK

Unfortunately we weren't able to see these features in action during our hands-on time, but we did get to test out the interface. It really operates just the same as any other mobile device: indeed, the Xperia Touch is powered by Google's Android 7.0 operating system, essentially making it a glorified Sony tablet. The display is impressively clear, but you shouldn't go expecting the same level of sharpness you'd find on a smartphone screen.

This shouldn't be taken as a criticism: from what we saw, the technology has been implemented incredibly well and has enough unique appeal to tempt early adopters and hard-core Sony fans. Outside of this demographic, Sony faces a more challenging sell: priced at €1,499 (£1,270), it's unlikely that the first iteration of the Xperia Touch will fly off the shelves at a rate anywhere near to that of Sony's televisions and smartphones.

Xperia Touch DJ app
Undoubtedly the Xperia Touch could have some great implementations. IBTimes UK

At least Sony is aware of this – Touch is, after all, a new product category for the company, and these rarely take off with instant commercial success. For those with the cash, the device makes a fantastic travel gadget owing to its small size, built-in battery and wireless connectivity, and the inclusion of stereo speakers and expandable storage gives the Touch the potential to be an indispensable all-in-one entertainment system.

IBTimes UK will be delivering its in-depth verdict on the Xperia Touch shortly, so watch this space. In the meantime, be sure to follow us on Twitter @IBTimesUKTech for all the latest news and hands-on from MWC 2017, which kicks off on 26 February.