However, all is not rosy. For some reason Sony Ericsson has felt the need to replace the perfectly serviceable default media players with what it calls mediascape. This brings together photos, videos, and music into one app and adds in online services for music and photos. It’s supposed to be a slick integrated media platform but it simply doesn’t work. The music player requires far too much browsing around to get to what you want and is difficult to use thanks to small and unresponsive icons. The video and photos browsers are slightly better but they certainly don’t improve significantly over the standard Android versions.
Another Sony Ericsson feature is Timescape, which is sort of the company’s attempt at social media integration in the vain of Motorola’s MotoBLUR but there’s more to it than that. You’re presented with a rolodex-style timeline of events that can be anything from an email through a Facebook update or SMS to the last song you played. You can then tap on an event to take a closer look. Slide the screen left or right and you can get to the individual feeds for each service and again drill down to get to the event you want.
It’s a clever concept and to a degree it works quite well. However, the way it’s presented isn’t actually very practical as it’s difficult to see and highlight the event you want and all the swish animations make it run slowly. Also, there is still a part of us that thinks all this integration stuff isn’t necessarily good. We like using different types of communication for different purposes and like to have them separate so we know what we’re using and when. After all, you wouldn’t say in a Tweet what you’d say in text message to a friend.
Another problem is that the X10 is using the 1.6 version of Android, which is now severely behind the times. The latest Android builds have integrated Facebook, so you can add personal details and photos from this service to your phone’s contacts, along with many other improvements. There’s also no support for Flash video in the otherwise excellent web browser and multi-touch isn’t present either. Sony Ericsson will no doubt update the X10 with an Android 2.1-based firmware that will hopefully fix these other problems, but there’s no guarantee of when it will arrive.
Aside from Timescape, the 1GHz Qualcomm processor beating at the heart of this phone keeps it powering along nice and briskly. It does have a downside, however: try as we might, we could seldom get more than a day’s use out of this phone before it needed recharging. By turning push updates for things like Timescape off and managing other data connections you might be able to push this to two days, but this is still poor.