Eclair the End of the Road for Xperia X10

In a couple of official communications from Sony Ericsson through the Product Launch Blog and Twitter, the Xperia X10 is not going to see Froyo or any other Android version. Here is the reasoning behind the decision, according to the Product Launch blog:

“First – As a clarification regarding the current Xperia products – We are planning another upgrade to bring new features (such as for example multi-touch for Xperia X10) to the current family of Xperia™ smartphones in Q1 2011. However, at this stage those plans do not include updating the underlying Android version.

This decision is based on that we believe that with the current hardware platform an overhaul of the underlying core OS wouldn’t drastically improve the user experience.
We believe that the current Xperia range on Android 2.1 coupled with our proprietary upgrades and unique hardware delivers a user experience that is on par with, and in many cases better than, a vanilla installation of Android 2.2.

Our priority right now is to keep enhancing the user experience of the existing products through coming updates and to deliver a fantastic range of smartphones in 2011 that are all on the latest possible version of Android – that is a target we are determined to hit!”
Rikard Skogberg, Sony Ericsson

I believe the multi-touch he is referring to is the pinch-zoom feature, and not actual multi-touch. It would probably help Sony Ericsson if he really did mean multi-touch though, as there are many vocal fans of multi-touch among the Xperia X10’s owners. That update is supposed to be released some time this quarter.

The argument for not upgrading Android is that it would not “drastically improve the user experience.” This sentiment is also expressed by the SonyEricssonUK team on Twitter. See the image below for their quote.

As a long time fan and user of Ericsson and subsequently Sony Ericsson phones, I have to respectfully disagree with the party line on this one. Yes, Timescape is pretty cool. Yes, Mediascape has potential to be at least semi-useful. Yes, my de-branded and rooted 2.1 upgrade makes my phone run a lot faster than the bloated AT&T version with 1.6. No, these do not make a better phone than stock Froyo or Gingerbread.

With Froyo comes things like saving apps to the SD card, Google Earth, Flash 10.1, and Google Voice Actions, to name a few. Froyo comes with improved processing speeds as well. While I am confident that Timescape will work much better on Gingerbread on the Xperia Arc, it is a bit laggy on 2.1 on the Xperia X10. It’s pretty, and it is better than the 1.6 version, but it takes a long time to load updates.

Having just bought my Xperia X10 in August, I am not going to be eligible for an upgrade for a long while. Having held onto my Sony Ericsson Walkman phone long after its prime, I was really looking forward to being able to keep renewing my X10 as the OS improved. This is a little disappointing. I do like the Arc, but I waited so long for the X10 I wanted to hang on to it for a while.

Will I stop buying Sony Ericsson phones like many of the irate X10 owners? No. There’s a reason I buy Sony Ericsson. That reason hasn’t changed. I really hope 2011 is the year mistakes are learned from though. It would be nice to see Sony Ericsson succeed this year. Upgrading the X10 would have helped.

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