We all know that Sony is planning to bust out a range of Ericsson-less smartphones by June 2012, but we could be seeing the shorter-named handsets as early as CES 2012.

Alongside an invitation to the Sony press conference at the tech show, Swedish site Swedroid received a note inviting it to a second meeting "where the latest Xperia models will be showcased".

The illuminating invitation arrives just as the first images of the Sony-only handset hit the web, a smarpthone apparently codenamed the Sony Xperia Nypon (model number LT22).

Sony xperia nypon
Image credit: mobile.it168.com

It's not a particularly inspiring looking handset, but it does seem quite slim up top with a rather rotund bottom half (above).

Speculation time

Specs are said to include a 1GHz dual-core processor, 4-inch qHD display, 8MP camera, 1GB RAM and 16GB ROM.

As far as OSes go, you're looking at Android all the way – supposedly Gingerbread at launch with Ice Cream Sandwich coming later.

But that's not all – another image of a switched on handset that also reckons it's the Nypon (or Nyphon, the rumour mill swings wildly between the two) which is a different design altogether, looking more like the Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc HD (aka Nozomi) that we've seen so much of lately. Both of these have thus far come with Sony Ericsson branding, not Sony.

Sony ericsson nypon
Image credit: Xperia Blog

So what's going on? Either there are several phones on the cards, one or more are a fake or we're seeing some prototype devices surface online.

It's a twisted web – but never fear, CES 2012 is only round the corner, at which point all should become clear.

For now, all we can tell you is that it's possible that Sony will unveil its own-brand phones in January, and it's possible that either or both of the pictured handsets will be among them. It's all wonderfully possible.

It's possible

From Xperia Blog, Swedroid and SEMCBlog