Posts Tagged ‘Xperia X10’

Xperia X10 To Receive Gingerbread

Wednesday, April 13th, 2011

In a gratifying reversal, Sony Ericsson formally announced the coming Gingerbread release for the Xperia X10. The news was posted in a message on the Product Launch Blog. So, why the change of heart?

First, according to the blog, they’ve “heard our requests.” They also made a lot of progress while developing for their newest Xperia phones, which enabled them to update the previously doomed X10. There are some limitations, though, and Sony Ericsson wants to be clear that the limitations are known in advance.

The X10 won’t include some of Sony’s better features like the smile detection on the camera. Instead the stock Gingerbread camera will be used. I particularly like that feature, but it is a small price to pay for getting the latest OS. Face recognition will also be lost due to the stock camera. Any DRM content will be overwritten in the upgrade, so you’ll likely have to deal with that when the time comes if you want to listen to your music. Other than that, the limitations as currently stated are pretty minor. There will be some downsizing of language support and the Backup and Restore app will go away.

The update is due by the end of Q2 or early Q3, but we’ll have to wait and see. It will be based on Gingerbread 2.3.3, and this will be the “final” upgrade. That works for me. I’m looking at another year before I can upgrade, so the Gingerbread bump will be quite useful. I’ve long since abandoned AT&T’s meager Donut offering, and am currently running Froyo on my phone. The differences are pretty spectacular. As might be expected, AT&T customers won’t be getting this update. You’ll have to take matters into your own hands if you are so inclined. In my experience it was worth it.

Gingerbread is nearly complete at XDA, but the camera isn’t quite ready. Froyo got a nice camera upgrade recently at XDA, if you want to check that out. All this was without the benefit of kernel access, so Sony Ericsson should be able to produce a nice package for us to enjoy.

I’m pretty stoked about this news. I’ll be watching for updates and pass them along.

Did AT&T Already Ax the Xperia X10?

Tuesday, February 8th, 2011

AT&T logo

There have been rumors that AT&T is planning to ax the Xperia X10 as of March 6. Axing it before even giving it a chance. It appears that AT&T may have jumped the gun a bit, as the Xperia X10 is no longer shown on the AT&T site. See the image below for the current Android offerings.

The Motorola Backflip, also expected to get the ax, is shown as out of stock. The Samsung Captivate is also out of stock, but more likely due to AT&T’s better marketing efforts for the device. As you can see, the Xperia X10 is nowhere to be found. Not even refurbished.

AT&T customers who bought an Xperia X10 have received virtually no support for the device. While the world enjoyed Eclair and two subsequent upgrades, AT&T customers are still stuck with Android 1.6. Considering the speculative March 6 end date, it would seem that AT&T never intended to offer Eclair for its customers. Those customers are going to be stuck for the next year and a half as AT&T finally starts focusing on Android and leaves the early adopters behind. With Mobile World Congress occurring next week, it is possible we will see the Xperia Arc or Xperia Play making their way towards AT&T. If that happens, there will be a lot of disappointed customers at AT&T – more than the usual amount.

AT&T has left Xperia owners no choice but to de-brand and upgrade the software themselves. De-branding alone gets rid of all the AT&T bloatware, and the phone is noticeably faster. Add Eclair to the phone, and things get even better. XDA has everything you need. You can even upgrade to beta builds of Froyo, or alpha builds of Gingerbread. There are a lot of people at XDA committed to giving us the most our phones can offer. Be sure to check out the site when you are ready to enjoy the phone that AT&T doesn’t want you to have.

AT&T is going to learn a valuable lesson this year. Poor customer service is bad for business. We’ll see the first wave when people start switching to Verizon for their iPhone fix. Next, the Android customers will be forced to de-brand their phones in order to get timely updates. Hopefully this will be enough of a wake up call that things will change at AT&T. I am not holding my breath though. I am really enjoying Froyo on my Xperia X10. I welcome you to join me.

Eclair the End of the Road for Xperia X10

Friday, January 7th, 2011

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.