Tag Archives: Sony Ericsson

HTC Will NOT Be Locking Bootloaders On Their Devices From Now

HTC’s smartphone sales and profits have risen up sharply, with the growth of Android. Last year, HTC Android phones were among the most popular ones among the consumers as well as developers. Developers used to buy a HTC based Android phones, since it was easy to get root access and flash custom ROMs on their phones.

However, since the beginning of this year HTC changed their agenda and started shipping Android phones with encrypted boot loader. This meant that rooting and flashing custom ROMs on HTC phones became nearly impossible. The company received a lot criticism on their move of encrypting the boot loaders on their handset.

Many people who had previously thought of buying the HTC Sensation went ahead and got the Samsung Galaxy S II, just because the SGS II does not have a locked down boot loader.

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A few days ago HTC said that they are reviewing their policy on locked down boot loaders. Today, HTC’s CEO Peter Chou announced that HTC has listened to its customer feedback, and they will no longer be locking down boot loaders on their devices.

This definitely is music to my ears, and as well as every developer out there. This move from HTC clearly proves that ignoring the developer community can lead to negative PR and lot of criticism (Psst Motorola).

However, HTC has not mentioned anything whether their current devices with locked boot loaders like the Sensation, Incredible S will be unlocked or not.

First Sony Ericsson, then Samsung and LG and now HTC all have realized that they are adversely going to affect the sales of their handsets by locking down its boot loader. Now, only if Motorola could realize this!

Xperia Play And Droid X2 Now Available At Verizon

Sony Ericsson Xperia Play is the world’s first PlayStation certified smartphone. This handset was announced at the Mobile World congress (MWC) 2011 in Barcelona and it runs on the latest Android 2.3 (Gingerbread) Operating System. On the other hand, Motorola Droid X2 is the successor of the popular Motorola Droid smartphone. This handset runs on the old Android 2.2 (Froyo) Operating System. Both the handsets are currently available for purchase exclusively on the airwaves of Verizon in the US.

Sony Ericsson Xperia Play:

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Sony Ericsson Xperia Play features a 4 inch capacitive multi-touch display with 480 x 854 pixels resolution, 1 GHz Scorpion ARMv7 processor, Android 2.3 (Gingerbread) OS, slide-out gaming keypad, 5 megapixel camera with auto-focus and flash, 400 MB internal memory, microSD card slot, 8 GB microSD card included, up to 32 GB expandable memory, 3.5 mm audio jack, Bluetooth stereo (A2DP), USB 2.0, Wi-Fi Connectivity, Gesture gaming, Motion gaming, aGPS, Micro USB, up to 8 hrs 25 min talk-time, up to 425 hrs standby time and a 1500 mAh battery.

Motorola Droid X2:

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Motorola Droid X2 features a 4.3 inch qHD display with 960 × 540 pixels resolution, 1GHz dual-core Nvidia Tegra 2 processor, Android 2.2 (Froyo) OS, MotoBLUR UI, 8 megapixel camera with dual-LED flash, full HD (1080p) video recording and playback, 512MB RAM, 8 GB internal memory, mini-HDMI port, GPS with A-GPS, Wi-Fi b/g/n, eCompass, 3.5mm audio jack, Android Market and more.

Sony Ericsson Xperia Play will ship with 7 games Asphalt 6, Madden NFL 11, Bruce Lee Dragon Warrior, The Sims, Star Battalion, Crash Bandicoot and Tetris. This handset is available for $199.99 with a 2 years service agreement. You can also purchase Xperia Play from Amazon for just $99.99. Motorola Droid X2 can be easily purchased from Verizon for $199.99 with a 2 years contract. Which phone are you planning to buy? Let us know your views in the comments below.

Sony Ericsson Xperia Play And Arc Android 2.3.3 Gingerbread Update Rolling Out Now

Sony Ericsson has started rolling out the Android 2.3.3 Gingerbread update for the Xperia Arc and Play. The update is already available in some regions of the world like Hong Kong, but a wider roll-outwill begin from next week.

Along with the bump in Android OS version, the update also improves the performance and boot-up time of the Xperia Arc and Play.

Here is the official change-log from Sony Ericsson :

  • Battery performance
  • General software stability
  • Wi-Fi stability
  • HD Video recording performance (Xperiaâ„¢ arc)
  • Touch responsiveness

One new feature which this update will bring is Facebook inside Xperia’. Basically, this feature will tightly integrate your Xperia phone with Facebook. Below is a demo of the Facebook inside Xperia feature :

 

Users can update their Xperia Arc or Play to Android 2.3.3 Gingerbread either via OTA or using Sony Ericsson’s PC Companion.

Sony Ericsson also stated that they are working hard on the Gingerbread update for the X10, and they will announce more about the update soon. The Facebook inside Xperia feature will come to the Xperia X10 as well.

Sony Ericsson Xperia Play Up For Pre-Order At Amazon For $99.99

Sony Ericsson announced the world’s first PlayStation certified smartphone, the Xperia Play at the Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2011 in Barcelona. This handset runs on the Android 2.3 (Gingerbread) Operating System and it will be exclusively available on the airwaves of Verizon in the US. Xperia Play is already available for pre-order at Verizon for $199.99 with a 2 years service agreement. If you are planning to buy this handset and save a few bucks, then you can go ahead and pre-order the powerful Xperia Play from Amazon for just $99.99.

xperia play

Sony Ericsson Xperia Play comes with a 4 inch capacitive multi-touch display with 480 x 854 pixels resolution, 1 GHz Scorpion ARMv7 processor, Android 2.3 (Gingerbread) OS, slide-out gaming keypad, 5 megapixel camera with auto-focus and flash, 400 MB internal memory, microSD card slot, 8 GB microSD card included, up to 32 GB expandable memory and more.

Other features include a 3.5 mm audio jack, Bluetooth stereo (A2DP), PlayNow service, USB 2.0, Wi-Fi Connectivity, Sony Ericsson Music player, Gesture gaming, Motion gaming, aGPS, DLNA Certified, Micro USB, Android Market, Android Cloud to Device messaging, up to 8 hrs 25 min talk-time, up to 425 hrs standby time, up to 5 hrs 35 min game play time, up to 30 hrs 35 min music playback and a 1500 mAh battery.

This handset will be released on May 26th, but if you pre-order this smartphone from Amazon, then you will have to wait for 8 to 9 days, since the phone is currently listed as backordered on Amazon. Xperia Play will ship with 7 games – Asphalt 6, Madden NFL 11, Bruce Lee Dragon Warrior, The Sims, Star Battalion, Crash Bandicoot and Tetris. To check out this amazing deal, head over to this page at Amazon.

Verizon Announces The Xperia Play; To Ship With 7 High-Quality Games

Yesterday, Motorola and Verizon announced the Droid X2. Today, Verizon and Sony Ericsson have teamed up to announce the Xperia Play. The Xperia Play is already available in various regions of the world, and will be available in the U.S from this month’s end.

The Xperia Play sports a 4-inch TFT display with FWVGA (854×480) resolution. The handset is powered by a 1GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon CPU, and an Adreno 205 GPU. The handset also packs 512MB of RAM and ROM.

Xperia_Play

The handset will run on Android 2.3.2 Gingerbread with Sony Ericsson’s proprietary UI running on top of it. The back of the phone sports a 5MP camera, while there is a VGA camera in the front for video calling. Since the Play does NOT run on Android 2.3.4, users cannot video chat using Google Talk.

The Xperia Play will be the first PlayStation Certified smartphone to be available in the U.S. Being a gamer oriented phone, the handset will ship with 7 games on-board including Asphalt 6, Madden NFL 11, Bruce Lee Dragon Warrior, The Sims, Star Battalion, Crash Bandicoot and Tetris. Users can download more than 50 high-quality games from Verizon’s VCast Apps.

The Xperia Play can already be ordered online at VerizonWireless.com, while it will hit the retail stores on May 26th. The handset will set users back by $199.99, on a two-year contract.

HTC Sensation To Ship With An Encrypted Boot Loader

Back in 2010, HTC’s Android handsets were very modding friendly, and that was one of the main reasons for their popularity. HTC’s handsets were among the first to get a new mod or ROM ports. This was all because HTC did not lock or encrypt their handsets boot loader.

Sadly, it looks like this year the company has taken a different approach towards unlocked boot loader on their handsets. All the phones HTC have released this year including the Desire S, and the Incredible S have a locked boot loader. Many developers and modders criticized HTC for this, and expected that the company won’t be so strict with its next super-phone the HTC Sensation.

HTC_Sensation

Sadly, the folks over at AndroidPolice are reporting that the Sensation will ship with a signed boot loader as well. Unless the developers get extremely lucky, like in the case of the HTC Thunderbolt, there is a very tough chance of unlocking the boot loader.

This news has already caused many developers and HTC handsets users to change their mind about the Sensation. The Samsung Galaxy S II is no less than the Sensation in the specs department, and many people are looking towards it as a viable alternative.

It is really sad to see HTC shipping their phones with an encrypted boot loader. Motorola is already being criticized by a lot of people for shipping their phones with locked boot loaders. Companies need to realize that shipping their phones with a locked boot loader is going to adversely affect the handsets sales.

Motorola and HTC should learn a lesson or two from Samsung, LG and Sony Ericsson on supporting the modding community.

Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc Review

Last year was pretty bad for Sony Ericsson. The company launched its Xperia branded Android handsets including the X10, but all the models failed to generate user interests and revenue.   The X10 was criticized for its outdated Android OS (v1.6) and lack of multi-touch. Later on, Sony Ericsson was also criticized for delaying the Android 2.1 update for its flagship handset.

Nevertheless, Sony Ericsson has learnt a lesson or two from last year, and is trying to change it this year. The company announced a bunch of Xperia branded handsets, running on the latest version of Android OS, and each standing apart from the crowd.

The Xperia Arc is Sony Ericsson’s flagship phone for this year. The handset is slim, stylish, packs an awesome camera and runs on the latest version of Android OS.

However, 2011 is all about dual-core Android handsets, and will the Xperia Arc be able to compete with its upcoming competition. Read our review to find out!

Build Quality And Screen

Right out of the box, anyone will be surprised by how thin and how long the Arc is. True to its name, the Arc has an Arc shaped design. At its thinnest point, the Arc measures only 8.79mm, which is… insanely thin!

The Arc is mainly made up of glossy plastics, but has a premium fit and finish. There is a metallic ring covering the sides of the phone. Sadly, all that glossy plastic is a fingerprint and smudge magnet.

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Like the X10, the Arc only has 3 hardware buttons – Back, Home and Menu button – in the same order. The keys are not backlit. There are two small LEDs between the three buttons, but they are of hardly any help.

The top of the Arc houses a mini-HDMI port, while the top right houses the notification light, microUSB port and a tiny volume button. Oh! There is also a camera button at the bottom right of the handset, which will definitely go un-noticed by most people. The left side of the handset is pretty empty, and only has a 3.5mm jack.

The front of the handset is dominated by a 4.2-inch LCD screen, with a resolution of 854×480 (FWVGA). The LCD of the Arc has decent contrast and brightness. The Arc does have automatic brightness control, but there is no option to turn it on or off in the Display settings.

The Arc also features Sony Ericsson’s new ‘BRAVIA Mobile Engine’. This new technology boosts the screen’s color contrast, and sharpness whenever a user is watching images or videos on his handsets. The technology definitely helps improve the image quality of the display. Images and videos look mind-blowing on the Arc’s display. The Bravia engine does not impact the screen performance in any other aspect except when viewing images and videos.

Sadly, the biggest problem with the Arc’s display is its viewing angles. The display looks washed out, if viewed from anywhere except its perfect viewing angle.

User Interface And Performance

The Arc runs on Android 2.3.2 Gingerbread, with Sony Ericsson’s proprietary UI on top of it. Unlike the X10, Sony Ericsson’s UI changes do not run right into the OS core, and are merely cosmetic changes. Sony Ericsson has replaced the black theme, which Google introduced with Gingerbread, and is using a blue theme instead.

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The changes made by Sony Ericsson are positive in all aspects. Sadly, the Gingerbread screen-off animation as seen on the Nexus S, is not found on the Arc.

By default, the phone ships with 5 home screens. Users cannot add or delete home screens if they want. The app launcher dock can incorporate up to 4 icons, excluding the ‘menu’ button in the center. The application grid offers users with a nifty feature to sort apps alphabetically, in order of their use, manually or recently installed.

The MediaScape UI, found in the original X10, has been merely reduced to a desktop widget now. The music player of the Arc looks gorgeous, and even has a few equalizer presets. However, there is no option to manually create a new equalizer preset.

The Timescape UI looked good in the X10, and it still does. Basically, the Timescape UI aggregates all the social updates of your friends from Twitter and Facebook in a 3D view. Sadly, the dialer on the Arc does not feature smart dialing. The back of the handset also features a secondary mic. for noise cancellation purposes.

During the trial period, I had no issues with the performance of the Arc. The handset totally flies, and users will hardly feel the lack of a second core, on a day-to-day basis. The phone scores around ~1400points in the Quadrant benchmark, which is pretty decent.

Camera And Video Recording

This is very where the Xperia Arc truly excels. The 8MP camera at the back of the Arc is a truly mind-blowing. In proper lighting, the images came out crisp and sharp, with more than enough details.

Below is an image sample clicked at the default camera settings 6MP, 16:9 aspect ratio – from the Arc :

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The rest of the images below, were clicked at 8MP resolution with auto scene detection :

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Sony Ericsson also touts that the Xperia Arc has an Exmor R sensor, which allows users to click some stunning low-light pictures. I clicked some pictures in complete darkness, and the results are truly stunning.

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The Arc is also able to record videos in 720p HD resolution at 30fps. The phone also features continuous auto-focus while recording videos. The back of the handset features a second microphone, to cut down on background noise while recording videos.

The camera interface of the Arc is very clean and smooth. However, the phone only offers very limited scene modes including Smile detection, scene recognition and normal mode. The camera also has touch-to-focus while clicking still pictures.

The videos taken from the phone came out clear and sharp, with no choppiness and duplicated frames were rare as well.

Web Browsing And Battery Life

The web browser on the Arc, like any other Android phone, absolutely rocks! The general web browsing performance is smooth, with no troubles. Scrolling around through web pages was smooth as well. Things did get a little jerky when browsing heavy flash based web sites like Espnstar.com. The Arc was able to playback Flash videos embedded in webpages without a hitch, as well.

Even though the Arc is insanely thin, it packs in a 1500mAh capacity battery.   The handset will easily last a day on moderate to heavy usage on a single charge. Compared to most other Android handsets, especially HTC branded ones; the battery life of the Arc is a major plus!

Conclusion

The Xperia Arc is a decent all-round phone. I was pleasantly surprised by the performance of the phone. The camera, looks, battery life, and the performance of the Arc are its major plus points. The dated internal hardware of the handset can be a problem 2-3 months down the line, when nearly every phone will launch with a dual-core processor.

For the general users out there, the Arc is more than enough. They will be highly satisfied with it. However, for the Andro-geeks out there, the Arc is nothing but an outdated phone with an awesome camera.

At the moment, the Arc retails for Rs 28,000, which is quite steep for the features and out-dated hardware it offers. The phone will be a hot seller if priced below the 25k mark. Once the Arc’s price settles below the 25k mark, it will be a true VFM phone.

The Best Android Phones Coming to India in 2011

The Android revolution began about 3 years back and its stunning growth has dwarfed the growth of even iOS (iPhone) as a mobile platform. It is now the most popular mobile OS in the US, and is on its way to becoming the most used mobile OS in the world. It is expected to overtake Symbian soon, and will soon be the Windows of the mobile world.

Unlike Apple which always ignores India when launching new products, most Android manufacturers have made sure that they launch new Android smartphones in India at the same time as the worldwide launch.

As I’ve said before, 2011 is going to be the year of Android. We have seen a lot of exciting devices at CES, MWC and CTIA 2011. Most of these devices will either be launched soon, or have been launched already.

In this post, I will show you the best Android phones that money can buy. Despite the title, the list is relevant to users around the world, not just Indians.

1. Samsung Galaxy S 2

This is definitely the best Android smartphone that money can buy. It has received the best reviews yet, and offers the best overall package, compared to any other Android phone. It is the successor to the most popular Android phone of 2010 – the Samsung Galaxy S.

It has an excellent 4.3 inch SuperAMOLED Plus display which has a resolution of 480 x 800 pixels. It comes with an 8 MP camera which can record 1080p video, a 1.2 GHz dual core Exynos processor, 1 GB RAM and 16 GB internal storage. It runs Android 2.3 Gingerbread with TouchWiz 4.0.

It is expected to be launched by the end of May 2011 and will be priced at around Rs. 30,000 to Rs. 35,000.

Samsung Galaxy S 2

2. HTC Sensation

The HTC Sensation is probably the only phone which can rival the Samsung Galaxy S 2 in terms of specifications and features.

It will come with a 4.3 inch S-LCD touchscreen display with a resolution of 540 x 960 pixels. It will come with Android 2.3 Gingerbread and has the HTC Sense 3.0 UI, which is widely regarded as the best third party Android UI.

It has a dual core 1.2 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon processor, an Adreno 220 GPU and 768 MB RAM. It also comes with an 8 MP camera with dual LED flash which can record 1080p video at 30 FPS. It has 1 GB internal storage, and is a bit heavier than the Galaxy S 2, at 148 gms. It will likely be launched soon, but we have no idea about the pricing.

HTC Sensation

3. LG Optimus 2X

The LG Optimus 2X was the first Android smartphone with a dual core processor. While it was launched some time back, it is still one of the best Android phone options in India. In the US, you can buy the T-Mobile G2X which is identical to the Optimus 2X, and comes with pure Android 2.2 Froyo.

It comes with a 4 inch LCD touchscreen display with a resolution of 480 x 800 pixels. It also has a 1 GHz dual core Cortex A9 processor (Tegra 2) and offers 1 GB RAM. It has an 8 MP camera and can also capture 1080p video at 24 FPS. Though it’s not as good as the Samsung Galaxy S 2, it is much cheaper. You can get it for as much as Rs. 28,000.

Buy the LG Optimus 2X on Amazon.

LG Optimus 2X

4. Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc

The Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc was recently launched and is probably the most stylish Android smartphone to date. It is extremely slim, and has a very sleek design. It comes with a 4.2 inch display and has a 1 GHz Qualcomm MSM8255 Snapdragon processor, an Adreno 205 GPU and 512 MB RAM. It also offers an excellent 8 MP camera, which makes it the best Android camera phone. It is powered by Android 2.3 Gingerbread and has the Sony Ericsson custom Android UI.

It is available for Rs 28,000.

Buy the Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc at Flipkart.

Buy the Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc at Amazon.

Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc

5. Sony Ericsson Xperia Play

The Sony Ericsson Xperia Play is another notable Android phone. It deviates from the touchscreen only trend in Android phones, and features a unique gaming keypad which slides out from under the display. It has the same hardware as the Xperia Arc – 1 GHz Qualcomm MSM8255 Snapdragon processor, an Adreno 205 GPU and 512 MB RAM.

It also has a 5 MP camera and Android 2.3 Gingerbread, but the main attraction is the library of exclusive PSP games which it supports. If you are a gamer, and want an Android smartphone, the Xperia Play is the device you should get.

It is priced at Rs. 30,000.

Buy the Sony Ericsson Xperia Play at Flipkart.

Buy the Sony Ericsson Xperia Play at Amazon.

Sony Ericsson Xperia Play

6. HTC Incredible S

HTC was the top dog in the Android arena an year back, but since the launch of the Galaxy S, Samsung has become the dominant player. HTC, though, has been trying to get back to the top.

The HTC Incredible S is one of the best Android smartphones by HTC. It comes with Android 2.2 Froyo and the HTC Sense 3.0 UI, probably the best third party Android UI. It will definitely get an upgrade to Android 2.3 Gingerbread and comes with a 4 inch, 480 x 800 pixel display. It has a 1 GHz Qualcomm MSM8255 Snapdragon processor, 768 MB RAM and comes with the Adreno 205 GPU as well. It has a very good 8 MP camera which can capture 720p video.

It is the cheapest of the lot. It is priced at Rs 26,399.

Buy the HTC Incredible S at Flipkart.

Buy the HTC Incredible S at Amazon.

HTC Incredible S

We might see many more Android smartphone launches soon, but for the next 2-3 months, this list should guide you well, should you want to buy the best Android smartphone in India, or the world, for that matter.

Update: Also check out our news Smartphone Buying Guide in India for 2011

Sony Ericsson Xperia Acro Officially Unveiled

Today, Sony Ericsson unveiled three new Android phones at their event in London – the Xperia Mini, Xperia Mini Pro and the Xperia Acro. While they sport similar specifications, the Xperia Mini and the Xperia Mini Pro will likely be priced in the budget category, while the Xperia Acro will be a high end smartphone.

The Xperia Acro was leaked exactly a month back. Most of the leaked specifications we reported back then have turned out to be true. It will be a fatter, improved version of the Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc for Japanese users.

“We are delighted to be introducing this flagship model to Japan. In this sophisticated market, we are listening to consumers and are happy to adapt our products to fit in with requirements which they believe to be an essential part of the mobile experience. We expect that they will be pleased to have such a uniquely adept premium smartphone and look forward to a new wave of consumers experiencing the world of Xperia.” said Bert Nordberg, President, Sony Ericsson.

The Xperia Acro comes with a 1 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon processor and an Adreno 205 GPU with 512 MB RAM. It will sport a 4.2 inch capacitive touchscreen display powered by the Mobile Bravia Engine, and an 8.1 MP Exmor R camera which can record 720p HD video. It runs Android 2.3 Gingerbread and will offer Mobile TV functionality.

It will be available in Japan from June. It will be available in two colors – black and white.

Sony Ericsson Announces The Xperia Mini And The Xperia Mini Pro Handsets

Sony Ericsson has just announced the Xperia Mini and the Xperia Min Pro, at their on-going event in London. The Xperia Mini is the smallest phone ever to record videos in HD 720p resolution.

The Xperia Mini features a 3-inch HVGA (320×480) screen with BRAVIA display engine. The handset is powered by a Qualcomm MSM8255 processor, and packs 512MB of RAM.

Xperia_Mini

The back of the Mini sports a 5MP camera with Auto-Focus and LED flash, which is capable of recording videos in 720p HD resolution. The usual arrays of features and sensors GPS with A-GPS, Wi-Fi b/g/n, Bluetooth 2.1, FM Radio, Accelerometer, eCompass, and a 3.5mm audio port are also present. Sony Ericsson claims that the battery life of the Mini is up to 30% better than its predecessor the X10 Mini.

The Xperia Mini Pro is exactly like the Xperia Mini, except that it sports a side slide-out QWERTY keyboard. The handset is labeled as a Compact QWERTY messenger’ from Sony Ericsson.

Both the handsets run on Android 2.3 Gingerbread, with Sony Ericsson’s proprietary UI on top of it. The company has also revised the four corner UI menu, originally found in the Xperia X10 Mini/Mini Pro.

The Mini/Mini Pro will be available in a bunch of colors including blue, dark pink, white and black. The handset will be available in retail stores all over the world by August. Here is the link to the press release.