Canadians Talking Tech

Sneak peak at Sony Ericsson Xperia X10

by Noah Bloom Posted in Canada, Gadgets, Mobile, Reviews

Yesterday in Vancouver, NorthGeek met with Peter Farmer and Neil Dutton from Sony Ericsson Canada about the upcoming Xperia X10 launch. Canada is highly anticipating the release of this new Android device, and, well, so are we. The news is that we should know in mid April exactly what it will cost and when it will be here, which will likely be sometime in Q2.

You probably already know that it comes with the blazing fast 1Ghz Snapdragon processor, a mega four inch WVGA display, and a sharp 8.1 megapixel camera… also 13mm thick, white or black, microSD up to 32GB (16GB included). If you want more specs, check them here.

“Signature Applications” is Sony Ericsson’s label for their Android skin — the front look and dominant applications on the Android platform. On the X10, this is dominated by Timescape, Mediascape, Infinite Button, and face recognition. Learn more about these in their online demo. Basically, the device is focused on aggregating your social media streams. It’s not just SMS, MMS, emails, and photos, etc, but also connecting with Facebook, Twitter, and something called MySpace, so you can visualize a person’s presence and correspondence in one place. Sony Ericsson is not the first to do this, but it’s certainly useful and centrally located on the X10.

However, the links within the apps go to the individual services’ mobile sites, not embedded apps like Hootsuite, Seesmic, or Facebook for Android. Also, there’s no Flickr yet — what other integration will you want? We will have to wait and see how Sony Ericsson continues to innovate and add functionality here. Will these features (a mix of the Signature Apps mentioned above) eliminate the need for standalone apps? I doubt they will — apps like Hootsuite or Facebook are so impressive and complete — so we will see how we might use both options or if they will coordinate well.

Rogers has been recently tweeting about the Google Nexus One becoming available in Canada, so it’s hard to ignore the face-off between these two devices. The Nexus One also has the Snapdragon processor (yes, it does have a smaller 5MP camera and 3.7″ screen), but a bare-bones Android likely offering quicker performance and speed. And the most recent version of Android, always.

The X10 comes with Android 1.6, because the Signature Apps need to adapt to new Android OSs, and won’t have the same battery management, task management, etc. It would be difficult for any Android device manufacturer to keep pace with Google’s quickly iterating OS if there is a skin built on top which always needs revisions.

The X10 is trying to do something different here. With a background in media, hardware, and taking chances with their phones (eg. their attempt to embrace Symbian a few years ago), as well as recognizable brands like Cybershot and Walkman, Sony Ericsson is trying to create a unique device experience here. Their skin is impressive and slick, but it will take some time to determine if it is better and who will embrace it. Is a skin really better for Android?

Rogers now has lots of Android devices. They are likely a world leader on this front, and were even the first mobile operator to offer both an iPhone and Android. Sony Ericsson believes that there is room here for multiple Android phones. All this competition is going to be very, very, very good for consumers. Watch out Apple.

This piece of X10 hardware is phenomenal. It feels great in the hand, is good looking, has a class-leading screen, and sports a camera verging on real. We’re still wondering if a skin is a good thing. They are competing with the Nexus One now, which sells without support from Rogers — does this matter? Ultimately, we need to spend more time with the device, but this certainly looks promising for Sony Ericsson in the future of smartphones. Coming soon is NorthGeek’s Nexus One review (the Canadian version with 3G frequency support).

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  1. One Response to “Sneak peak at Sony Ericsson Xperia X10”

  2. By Daniel on Apr 3, 2010

    This is an excellent review – and although there are still some unknowns with regard to the SE skin overtop of Android 1.6, I am now more excited than ever for Rogers to FINALLY launch this device!!

    Does anyone have any word on the launch date? PLEASE! I’ll buy you one if you tell me the EXACT date it touches down.

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