We’ve seen the Xperia X10 for a long time. It was not a new phone when we took many, many photographs at CES… back in January. And then again at CTIA… back in March.
Fast forward to today. Android 1.6 is a constant stumbling block for Android phone manufacturers, especially ones that went the distance with their custom user interfaces. From MOTOBLUR to Sony Ericsson’s Rachael… these almost total conversions of the Android home screen are totally innovative… and apparently, a total pain to convert to Android 2.1. The only home screen augmentation to quickly make the jump to Android 2.0 and above was HTC Sense, which itself is a very minimalistic modification from a technical standpoint.
As such, it appears AT&T got tired of waiting, and went ahead with shipping the Xperia X10 with a small bump from Android 1.5 to 1.6, with future upgrades to follow after release.
After the debacle of the Samsung Behold II, we aren’t waiting around for updates to materialize unless there’s a commitment from both the carrier and the manufacturer. Samsung demoed Behold II with Android 2.0, only to later claim it couldn’t be upgraded. Then, Samsung botched an Android 1.6 upgrade… which those customers are still waiting for re-release.
The X10’s hardware has some great points that do mitigate some of this. From a fast processor to a beautiful screen, it shows that the quirky European manufacturer can still make good phone… hardware.
But, the death blow to the Xperia X10 is once again AT&T’s refusal to allow developer-released software onto their devices. The blocking of unsigned code means that AT&T can block software from any developer, at will. This stifling of innovation is simply unacceptable, and in our opinion, deplorable on the part of AT&T. With the AT&T-banded version of the Google Nexus One offering an AMOLED screen, fast processor, and Android 2.2… there’s really no question which phone wins out here.
Don’t give the X10 the time of day until AT&T and Sony Ericsson both fix their respective problems with the Android universe.
Pros: Excellent hardware, great screen, fast processor.
Cons: Android 1.6, AT&T’s Orwellian Walled Garden
Rating: Do Not Buy