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Sony Ericsson announce Android based Xperia X10

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#1
PaulOBrien

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[teaser]

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This is the Android based Sony Ericsson Xperia X10. Looks nice doesn't it?

The Xperia X10 is Sony Ericsson first foray into the Android space, and builds on Android 1.6 (Donut) with a great looking context sensitive custom user experience layer. The phone will be available in 1H 2010 (we'd be willing to be just after Mobile World Congress in mid february) in Sensuous Black and Luster White, with the following specifications:
  • Google™ Android Donut, version 1.6 Donut (future upgradeable to 2.0)
  • 1GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon™ QSD8250
  • GSM GPRS/EDGE 850/900/1800/1900, UMTS HSPA 900/1700/2100 and UMTS HSPA 800/850/1900/2100
  • 8.1 megapixel camera with auto focus, face recognition, geotagging, image and video stabiliser, photo and video light, smile detection and touch focus
  • A-GPS
  • Bluetooth
  • WiFi
  • 3.5 mm audio jack
  • 4" 480 x 854 262,144 colour TFT touchscreen
  • Up to 1 GB phone memory
  • microSD expansion
  • 119 x 63 x 13 mm
  • 135 grams
I was fortunate enough to be able to attend the press event yesterday and get a (very) brief hands on with the device. So what's it like? The caveat is that it is nowhere near production ready, but the early signs look promising! The Sony Ericsson apps were very much 'early versions' (and therefore not massively performant), but the device as a whole flew along and the rendering in the browser and maps applications was stunningly fast thanks to the 1GHz Snapdragon processor. The high resolution screen looked great and the hardware looked nicely designed (of course, there's only so much you can do with a 'slab')... :D

The Xperia X10 represents a new direction for Sony Ericsson. The X10 is new hardware product engineered by Sony Ericsson in house (unlike previous Xperia handsets) but the annoucement yesterday was also very much about the new user experience platform. Sony Ericsson is moving away from Cybershot, Walkman etc. branding to a device that does everything with an integrated experience. This is part of a drive to become known as 'The communication entertainment brand'. Entertainment and communication blended together, driving social networking and sharing via those mediums. Sony Ericsson feel they are well positioned to bring communication and entertainment together.

The new user experience platform showcased on the X10 will appear on a range of devices in 2010, more of which will be showcased at Mobile World Congress in February.

The X10 featuers a number of signature applciations, the first of which is 'Timescape' where all of your content is brought together into one place - a view for everything that has happened in the phone. From this view, the user can easily jump to related pieces of communication. This central 'spline of events' is updated as new things arrive with new tiles showing photos, tweets, messages and Facebook updates. The spline can also be sorted by content type rather than time. Much like HTC's people centric communication on Windows Mobile, information relationships can be based on an individual. You can easily view everything from that person - photos, interactions etc. by pressing the 'infinite button' which tells the device to intelligently gather everything from that person. The timescape application is launched from a widget on the homescreen, defaulting to the aggregated view of all of your content. Swiping left and right switches between views of different content types (Facebook, Twitter, music, messages etc.), the center button returns to main view and a long press on a title previews the content. When you are in the infinite content view, you can directly reply / respond without switching mode. Timescape brings all your communication together in one place. Motoblur anyone?

Another signature app is 'Mediascape'. The functionality of Mediascape is much like that of Timescape, except this time it is aggregating media - both media on your device and media from online services (such as Sony Ericsson's own PlayNow and YouTube). Sony Ericsson is working with operators and carriers to integrate their service portfolios too. Both local and online content are presented in exactly the same way. This content could be music, photos, videos. The infinite button is here too - if you are listening to an artist, press the infinite button to find content related to that artist, both on your phone and online. Mediascape was demonstrated with browsing in traditional list views - artists, songs, albums. Tapping the artist name switches to a detail view (songs or albums) and the infinite view even showesconcerts, interviews etc. too! Videos work exactly the same way. The photo view allows the user to quickly scroll through photos in different ways - recently taken phones, recently viewed phones, photos arranged in 'albums'. As you would expect, there is a thumbnail view or a fullscreen view, with the ability once again swipe left / right to view in different ways. The photo application features Face Recognition for taking pictures but also for auto tagging, with the ability to recognise up to 5 faces in 1 photo. Once a person is tagged in a photo, related stuff is sucked in - for example, you could click on face to call person, see their messages etc. etc.

The X10 user experience will integrate more services going forward - Facebook, Twitter and YouTube are included already but this will grow. Sony Ericsson will also work with 3rd party developers, allowing them to integrate their platforms. The UX platform will evolve and grow over time and will appear in a number of products. We are really going to see Sony Ericsson developing the software / UX as a product in it's own right.

Despite the X10 being Android based, Sony Ericsson plan the user experience to be platform agnostic. It could feature on Symbian, Android… maybe Windows Mobile, but the extent of use of other OS' is yet to to be decided. There is very much a move to focus on open Operating Systems and less on featurephones, in line with movement of market.

Although the X10 has a heavily modified user interface, it can run all Android apps - the Marketplace is preinstalled on the device, nothing is locked out,

Finally, expect to see devices featuring hardware kyeboards in this space from Sony Ericsson in the future.

Things are definitely hotting up in the Android space, right? :P Where does this leave Sony Ericsson's Windows Mobile commitment...?

News readers, click through after the jump for more images and official videos!

P[/teaser]

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#2
PaulOBrien

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I'll take mine in white please. :D

P

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#3
Zeppu

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I agree with you on this one. The white one looks stunningly beautiful.

How many homescreens does it have though?

I have now gotten used to the 7 homescreens on my Hero and I think I would miss having any less than that. However it does seem like each screen can take another row of icons, am I right?

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#4
tone-fu

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Is it going to be pipped to the post by the Acer Liquid though? The liquid has some pretty impressive specs and it's listed at £350, available next month. Are people going to wait for the X10?

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#5
squirreleater

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Is it going to be pipped to the post by the Acer Liquid though? The liquid has some pretty impressive specs and it's listed at £350, available next month. Are people going to wait for the X10?



I will!

but I will wait a little longer as A: SE will as always delay the release. and B: wait for the initial bugs to be found and ironed out.

( I guess the X10 will be the full fat 1gh speed and not the throttled down chip the liquid is apparently running.)

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#6
vadonald

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I don't know about iPhone killer, with such a fast CPU and Android, if the interface is anything like HTC's sense then this will be an iPhone executioner.

Vince

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#7
PaulOBrien

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The Acer Liquid is a very generic UI right?

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#8
ratcom

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The Acer Liquid is a very generic UI right?

P

Yep box standard UI, Oh and on a side note .... you lucky sod :D this is one handset I'm keeping a very close eye on.

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#9
soopahfly

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And being a Sony Ericsson, it will be back at the service centre more often than it's in your pocket.

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#10
masterpfa

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I'll take mine in white please. :P

P


Don't hold your breath, too many times in the past have Sony Ericsson failed to deliver on time, constantly putting back release dates brings to mind the Z10 which was way ahead of everything when the concept was shown, but became so outdated that I don't think they even released it in the end. The original XPERIA again was so far ahead of the game in concept but dated and a dreadful UI when finally released.

The demo's from SE always seem to be glamorous with computer graphics replacing the UI and as they have done in this promo show a beautiful woman with mere glimpses of the phone.

If it happens, then I'll start getting excited, for me Sony Ericsson has flattered to deceive too many times in the past. :D

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#11
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I cannot wait to get my hands on this phone, oh yea!!!

Drizzy~

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#12
PaulOBrien

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Kinda spoilt for choice with the Acer Liquid A1 (out this week?), Milestone / Droid and then the X10!

I imagine the X10 will be out mid February, is that too far away?

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#13
kby

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Is there likely to be much in the way of custom ROM development for the X10? :)

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#14
squirreleater

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Is there likely to be much in the way of custom ROM development for the X10? :)



There will be some for sure, the X1 was a popular Winmo phone with the modders.
Not sure there will be much though as the Nexus is looking to be the phone of choice for the hackers, they seem to be switching from the G1 to the N1, plus this is SE's first Android phone and it will have a SE interface (like sense) that will slow things down like sense has on the hero etc.

Just my thoughts.

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#15
toyracer69

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I should be getting my X10 tomorrow and this is my first Android phone. ;)

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