Sony-Ericsson recently announced that their planned late September update to their XPERIA X10 line would be delayed at least a month. The XPERIA X10, as well as the X10 Mini and X10 Mini Pro were supposed to be updated to Android OS 2.1 (Eclair) by this week. XPERIA X10 smartphones are all still running Android OS 1.6 (Donut).
Needless to say, customers were upset, and over 1,000 comments appeared on their official blog in response to the disappointing news. S-E has been responding in the comments section with some clarifications, some of which admit to even more delays.
It turns out that the update to Eclair, which is now scheduled to start rolling out in late October, was only part one of a two-part feature update. Some expected updates to UXP, the S-E user interface on top of Android, will not appear until 2011, while other features such as multi-touch, 16 million colors, or camera flash may not be implemented at all. There are no plans for implementing Android OS 2.2 (Froyo), but it has not been explicitly ruled out. In addition, the XPERIA X8 will be launched within 2 weeks, with its Eclair update also behind schedule (but still planned for 2010).
Yet despite whatever problems led to these delays, S-E says they are committed to Android:
Android is absolutely at the core of our product portfolio for 2010 and 2011. We will release newer versions into our portfolio as soon as possible, either as upgrades to existing phones or in new product generations... Going into next year - It's a key part of our plans to be able to deliver products on the very latest Android releases available to us.
While Android fans are always delighted to have a manufacturer's support, the devil is always in the details. Here's the highlights from S-E's responses on the OS delay, all from Nordic Product Marketing Manager Rikard Skogberg.
On Xperia firmware roadmap
- "We of course admit we have issues, that's why we had to delay things. This is of course our fault, it's our plan, our product and our planned timing failed. As easy as that."
- As a result of this delay, the second firmware update (2.1x that brings UXP improvements) has also been delayed and will now roll out in early 2011.
- An upgrade to Android 2.2 (Froyo) has not been ruled in or out at this stage.
- The boot-loader will not be opened. The reasons behind this are legal issues as well as ensuring the phone will pass the strict quality control processes of network operators.
- Regarding Adobe Flash, 16m colors and multi-touch, Rikard said that there are "no such plans committed".
- Not heard anything on improvements on "in-call volume connected to the software update".
- Camera flash does not appear to be included in the coming update.
- The update does not "seem to include Arabic letters".
On Xperia X8
- The Xperia X8 is scheduled to launch in two weeks time, at least in the Nordic markets.
- The Xperia X8 will get the same Android update as the X10 mini and X10 mini pro, although at some point later (but within 2010).
I am sure it won't surprise you in the least to hear the responses have not generated any more customer enthusiasm than their original announcement. Blogs dedicated to the XPERIA X10 line are also logging many unhappy user comments.