Exclusive: Interview with Sony Ericsson about the Xperia X10 and Android

May 7, 2010 - Written By Chris Yackulic

Exclusive Androidheadlines.com With the Recent Release in North America of Sony Ericsson’s First Android Smartphone the Xperia X10 we Interviewed Peter Farmer who is the Marketing Director of Sony Ericsson to answer the questions that many of readers wanted to know about Sony,Android and the X10.

The XPERIAâ„¢ X10 is SE’s first Android  phone, how excited is SE about working with the Android  platform?

We are very excited to be entering the Android OS space and the X10 represents a new chapter for Sony Ericsson moving forward.

Sony Ericsson strives to be the most “open” company in the industry and the Android OS platform is an important step in achieving that goal.  Our approach is to provide consumers maximum choice.  We believe that software, rather than hardware, will drive the next phase of growth in the mobile industry so we are focusing on creating services that have the embedded flexibility to meet the needs of users both today and in the future.   In addition, we are platform agnostic and will select the operating system depending on the needs of the consumer, so we will continue to develop on other platforms.

In the XPERIAâ„¢ X10, the Android OS is the starting point.  With the XPERIAâ„¢ X10, users can download any application that they want to create an experience that is entirely unique to them.   We then build a unique Sony Ericsson experience on top with our signature applications (Timescape and Mediascape) and an intelligence capability to make it easier to use (Infinite Button).  We then combine that software experience with beautiful hardware design and functionality (8.1 MP camera for example).   Android  enables consumers to populate the phone with their own choice of applications and content, downloaded or purchased through a wide variety of stores or online services.   We are also open in the way that we work with operators and developers in order to further enhance the consumer experience.

What were the things that impressed you the most about the new Sony Ericsson Xperia X10?

The UX (user experience) platform builds on top of the Open OS and creates a unique Sony Ericsson user experience by combining best-in-class entertainment features with signature applications, unrivalled integration of social media services and a rich graphical user interface, presented on a 4″ screen with an 8.1 MP camera.

With signature applications like Sony Ericsson Mediascape and Sony Ericsson Timescape(tm), the XPERIAâ„¢ X10 lets consumers organize everything in their phone in an intuitive way. And Intelligence capabilities, integrated into these apps can automatically recognize connections between contacts, content and media. By recommending alternative ways to communicate or guiding to new media experiences, consumers can discover more in a truly open and unique way.

What was the main focus when designing the SE X10?

We wanted to provide consumers with something unique that brought together unrivalled software that provide unique human centric experiences with beautiful hardware design.  We call our hardware design philosophy “human curvature meets precision”- first introduced with the XPERIAâ„¢ X10.  It will become a consistent feature of Sony Ericsson’s portfolio going forward.  Designed to mirror the shape of the human body and at the same time delivering a precise handset interaction, our product portfolio will have an instantly recognizable look and feel across devices.

With the XPERIAâ„¢ X10 launched in Europe and Canada, when can we expect to see the phone in the United States and with what carrier?

The reaction from our global operator partners to the XPERIAâ„¢ X10 has been extremely positive and we will be rolling out across the world during 2010, however, at this time we cannot comment on any other specific operator details or launch timing.

Why has it not been released in the United states as of yet?

Rogers is an enthusiastic partner for the X10 and wanted to be one of the first off the mark.  As mentioned above, we cannot comment on any other specific operator details or launch timing.

The user interface of the X10 is very brilliant, do feel that this experience will set the phone apart from other Android  handsets?

Yes.  The user interface, or UX, is at the core of the device and reflects a design approach that combines both communications and entertainment experiences.  By providing a unique graphic interface and applications on top of the Android OS, we believe we have something unique in the market relative to all other devices,  not just Android .

We created the music phone category in 2005 selling over 100 million Walkman phones; we have built iconic sub brands in Walkman and Cyber-shot and have built credible leadership in gaming and messaging integrated with services and applications (TrackID, Facebook, YouTube apps). We are the only company that is fusing communication and entertainment in this way and we believe the new portfolio strategy with the UX platform at its core will allow us to set new standards and reinforce Sony Ericsson as the leading communication entertainment brand.

Many Android  users were disappointed that XPERIAâ„¢ X10 debuted with only the 1.6 version of the OS, why was this debuted on 1.6 and not 2.1?

The X10 launched with Android 1.6, however is upgradeable to later releases of the Android OS.  At launch, the X10 is a very competitive product even with 2.1 based devices in the market. This thanks to the additional enhancements delivered already at launch with the Sony Ericsson User Experience Platform on top of the generic Android  OS.  The user experience consists of signature applications like TimescapeTM and Sony Ericsson Mediascape along with rich graphics and deep service integration, providing a unique communication and entertainment experience.

When will we see the update to 2.1 for Xperia X10?

The X10 user experience will be upgraded in November 2010, delivering even more consumer value for new and existing consumers on top of the benefits of also upgrading to a later release of the Android OS. The evolving Sony Ericsson user experience approach will allow for a unique and value added experience for consumers not possible on generic Android  products.  Devices purchased today that run on 1.6 are upgradeable.

What type of system do you have in place to work with carriers to rollout OS updates in a timely fashion?

We continue to work through that process with carriers globally and are unable to comment on specifics at this time.

Many Android  users where hoping for multi-touch on the X10 why did you decide not to include this on the X10 when designing the phone?

At the time of the announcement of XPERIAâ„¢ X10 (3 Nov 2009) we confirmed on our product blog that XPERIAâ„¢ X10 would not support the Android  core feature of multi touch at the time of launch. As the project has evolved we have subsequently announced that that XPERIAâ„¢ X10 will be upgraded during its lifecycle with improvements in the User Experience Platform, incorporating software feature improvements and a later release of the Android  OS.  However, owing to the particular hardware and software configuration of the X10, multi-touch capabilities will not be enabled in the core platform irrespective of the software upgrade.

Whilst Sony Ericsson does not generally comment on speculation about future product or feature announcements, our communication principle is to have an open and honest dialogue with consumers and we make the above clarification in order to avoid any misconceptions among purchasers of the XPERIAâ„¢ X10.  We have had extremely positive consumer feedback following our first shipments of the XPERIAâ„¢ X10 and we are very confident that this product delivers a user experience that is truly unique and will delight consumers the world over.

When will we see the XPERIAâ„¢ X10 Mini and X10 Mini Pro released?

Sony Ericsson cannot comment on operator availability.

Will the X10 Xperia Mini and Xperia Mini Pro have the same hardware and software features?

The Experia family of phones will offer a common end-user proposition, consistent design language and user experience offering the best Sony Ericsson has to offer in Communications Entertainment on all open platforms. Our open approach gives consumers maximum choice. For Sony Ericsson we want to first  and foremost offer the best consumer proposition possible.  Clearly the “Mini” family takes the power of the X10 and puts it in a more compact body, in the process creating a new category of compact and powerful smartphones that has not been in the market to date.

Xperiaâ„¢ X10 mini and X10 mini pro

  • Sony Ericsson Timescapeâ„¢ –  brings together all communication in one place
  • Four corner control – applications, calls, web, the consumer decides. Four customisable icons for ultimate control
  • 5 megapixel camera and video – share creations via the web
  • Music player links to music stores and YouTubeâ„¢ – access the world of music
  • Android platform  – with Googleâ„¢ services and Android Marketâ„¢
  • QWERTY keyboard – slide and text for quick and easy messaging (XPERIAâ„¢ X10 mini pro only)


Do you have any plans to release any more Android  handsets this year? and if so can you share details of new phones we can look forward to in the future?

The Android  OS will evolve and will expand in our portfolio over time continuously introducing new features and capabilities. Multiple products will be introduced with this new UX platform starting with X10 as the flagship phone. The family of phones will offer a common end-user proposition offering the best Sony Ericsson has to offer in Communications Entertainment all on open platforms. Stay tuned for more over the coming months.

Google had approached SE about doing their Nexus One phone, why did SE decide to decline this project?

We cannot comment on commercial discussions.

What is your favourite feature of the X10?

Wow, this is a tough one.  Personally, I really like the infinite button.  The infinite button can automatically recognize connections between contacts, content and media. Pressing it allows consumers to either get all their communication in a person-centric way or suggest and guide the user to more content from the phone and online, for example, a particular artist you are listening to.

What do you like the most about the Android  platform?

Our open approach gives consumers maximum choice. For Sony Ericsson we want to first  and foremost offer the best consumer proposition possible.  Different platforms are suitable for different end-user propositions together with our own signature applications and UX platform.   Our open approach gives consumers maximum choice. For Sony Ericsson we want to first  and foremost offer the best consumer proposition possible.  Different platforms are suitable for different end-user propositions together with our own signature applications and UX platform.

Thank your Peter Farmer of Sony Ericsson for taking time to answer our questions and don’t forget to check out our recent review of the SE Xperia X10