Ever since I’d seen a preview Sony Ericsson Xperia X1 at GSMArena, I’ve been floored by that awesome device. The good folks at WMExperts have managed to get a unit of Xperia X1, and take it for a spin. Lets see what they have to say about the X1. WMExperts also had a chat with Martin Winlet, the Director of Global Marketing for Sony Ericsson and he also answered some questions people had put to him. Here are some excerpts from their article
WMExperts say that the X1 has a “curved slide” that angles the screen up, banana-style, when you slide out the keyboard. The hinge feels very sturdy without being difficult to use (go hinge nerds!), and overall the brushed metal to be found throughout the device is just beautiful. There are also no floppy rubber doors over ports or the MicroSD card slot to ruin the feel of the device. That feel, in case I haven’t made it clear yet, is great.
The physical keyboard is pretty good, though perhaps not quite up to HTC’s standard on the Mogul or the Tilt. There is more horizontal separation between keys, which helps reduce incorrect key presses. That’s great if you’re a fan of two-handed use, but it basically guarantees that if you want to use this one-handed, you’ll use it with the slider closed.
The main buttons have this “X” theme to them, 4 laid out on either side of the way in an inverted diamond shape. The screen. Good god, the screen is really beautiful. Flush, bright, and very high resolution.
So yes, the hardware delivers. The software is Windows Mobile 6.1, so there’s not much to say there (we’ll get to these “Panels” in just a minute). If you like horizontal sliders, you will covet this device. If you don’t like them, you might well covet it anyway.
Under the Hood
Here are the specs, in case you’re wondering:
- HSDPA/HSUPA (Quad Band, too)
- WiFi and Bluetooth
- 3.2 Megapixel Camera
- 110 x 53 x 16.7 mm
- 145 grams
- 1500 mAH Battery
- Qualcomm’s MSM7200A CPU, 528Mhz (confirmed)
- 800×480 resolution Touchscreen (flush)
- MicroSD for expansion
- MiniUSB for data and chargin
- 3.5mm headset jack for music
They are, in short, nothing less than top of the line.
According to the folks at Sony Ericsson, the battery life is supposed to be stupendous (think over 6 hours of talk time or browsing time), though of course that’s not finalized yet. As far as Windows Mobile’s performance goes, it’s as snappy as I’ve seen. Screen switching isn’t instantaneous, but it is a sight faster than on the Tilt. That’s likely because the X1 does utilize quite a bit of hardware acceleration, according to Winkler they are taking full advantage of the necessary drivers to do hardware acceleration.
Excepting the new panels interface (seriously, more on that below), the built-in software looks pretty standard. Of course, it’s not finalized, but I don’t expect that Sony has any plans to include Opera as the default browser.
Winkler (who we interviewed about the X1) spent quite a bit of time talking to us and answering our questions about the infamous panels. Some examples of panels they showed me:
- A Google search page
- A clock that showed time, appointments, weather (they said they were thinking of adding GPS coordinates)
- A “mini aquarium” where you could feed the fish and pester them. Even better – the different fish reflected the state of the phone. One fish changed colors if you had voicemail, another if you had email, and yet another told you whether or not the phone was on silent or vibrate or LOUD or whatnot. This panel was super fun.
As far as developing panels, Winkler said that it’s relatively easy though not identical to developing a Windows Mobile app. Programmers can use stuff as simple as XML (to make a web-like panel) to C++.
Ok ok. Panels are neat. What we didn’t know though, was this: What the hell are they? Do they sit on top of Windows Mobile? Is it a completely new OS? What?
Panels are Today Screen Replacements. That’s it. You choose a panel and it replaces your today screen. That’s why SE said that “one of the panels is Windows Mobile.” What they meant was one of the “panels” is just the default WinMo today screen. The rest of them replace it.
On Sony Getting Into the Windows Mobile Game
A couple of details that I learned from talking to various people at the Sony Ericsson booth that might be of interest:
They took care to emphasize that HTC didn’t have a large hand in developing the hardware. “We designed it, HTC is just the ODM” was a phrase I heard twice. SE is (rightfully) very proud of this hardware and though they’re utilizing HTC to do the manufacturing, they really want to make sure that they get the credit.
Answers to your Questions
Some of the questions asked, and the answers:
Is flash lite pre-installed – can you ask them to go to YouTube and play a vid?
Flash lite will be pre-installed, but the unit I used wasn’t connected to the net so I couldn’t test YouTube.
Would they consider shipping with Opera Mobile instead of PIE.
They will consider it, but don’t expect it. Software not finalized yet.
Main question – when is it shipping and to which countries.
They can’t and won’t say. Ditto price.
will it ever see CDMA?
They’re not going to rule it out, but signs point to no.
How smoothly does that arc slider move back and forth?
Did you get to watch any videos on it? I read that it’s supposed to have DVD quality video. Thanks!
Sadly, no. However the high resolution and graphical acceleration gives me hope.
My main thing is how much do they think its going to cost (full retail price).
They ain’t saying.
So there you have it, the X1 looks to be an incredible device, though the Panels interface does leave me a little worried that we’re looking at yet another target for developers to have to think about wrt Windows Mobile.
Read up on the entire article with a dedicated gallery over at WMExperts