Going mobile: Sony, in the guise of its partnership with Swedish maker Ericsson, is combining the much-touted Android phone platform from Google with its traditional feature-rich offerings in the form of the Xperia X10. Sporting a larger than normal 4-inch, TFT-capacitive touch screen, the candybar-style phone also runs on a hefty 1-gigahertz Snapdragon processor. The headline features are on the software side, though, in the form of its UX interface and the Timescape and Mediascape applications. In essence, UX is a Sony-Ericsson customization of the 1.6 version of Android. Timescape organizes all of the phone’s communications, such as Facebook, Twitter, e-mail and text messages into a single assembly organized in chronological order that can be searched by source or person. Mediascape serves a similar purpose, collecting all the media content on the phone, such as music, or available online via networking services. The ambitious aspiration is to spare users the onerous task of sorting through multiple files and locations looking for content and so making the user experience easier and more enriching.
To aid its multimedia aspirations the X10 comes with an 8.1-megapixel camera, again on the heftier end of phone features, with face-recognition, image stabilization and video ability. Whether making it simple to have the faces of photo subjects in focus is a must-have feature or not may come down to personal preference. In anticipation of users making frequent use of the camera, and other memory hogs, the X10 comes with 1 gigabyte of onboard memory and microSD card, augmented by an 8-gigabyte card in the package. The inclusion of a 3.5 mm headphone jack is a thoughtful feature that too many phone makers manage to forget. As a straight phone it will include both W-CDMA and GSM frequencies. The sleek if squarish X10 measures 119 × 63 × 13 mm and tips the scales at 135 grams. It will come in color choices of black or white.
Judging the value of the X10 is made difficult since it doesn’t come out until the first quarter of next year with no word yet on pricing, or which phone companies will carry it. On the basis of ambition alone it is an exceptional creation and it is certain to carry an appropriate price tag. How well it lives up to these aspirations yet to be seen. www.sonyericsson.com/cws/products/mobilephones/specifications/xperiax10
Bang for bucks: Boosting the profits of computer-makers is one of the crucial, albeit less publicized, aims of the new Windows 7 operating system. It is difficult to see how local maker Mouse Computer is going to cash in considering the generosity of its offerings. Its newest notebook, the 13.3-inch LuvBook LB-L350 comes complete with Windows 7 Home Premium, but unfortunately only the 32-bit OS. At the heart of the CULV machine is a modest 1.3-gigahertz Celeron 743 single-core processor, one of the Intel stable designed to minimize its power consumption. The notebook does include 4 gigabytes of memory, a 320-gigabyte hard disk and DVD burner. The monitor has a 1366 × 768 resolution and the machine includes all three flavors of wireless connectivity, as well as three USB 2.0 ports. The unit weighs 1.8 kg and battery life, considering the CULV processor is dedicated to extending this, is a bit disappointing at 4 1/2 hours. In fairness though, other computers offer similar operating times with much smaller screens to support.
The notebook is available direct from Mouse for ¥69,800. While the price is distinctly reasonable, Mouse can still afford to provide a nicely artistic covering for the otherwise functional design. Buyers after a portable device with desktop grunt need not check out the Mouse but the LuvBook does offer decent performance at a distinct discount to the offerings from more famous names. www.mouse-jp.co.jp/m-book/luvbookl350/gallery.html
Petit video on the go: The onslaught of digital media players doing everything bar creating a movie in the first place have all but elbowed many specialist gadgets out of the marketplace. One of those that has suffered is the portable DVD player. However, some makers, including local firm Bluedot, persist in offering such niche products. In the form of its new BDP-1475 Bluedot appears to have narrowed its focus still further, aiming to satisfy the needs of female consumers. The players are slim devices, weighing only 510 grams, with dimensions of 130 × 138 × 33 mm. They also come in a choice of three bright colors: yellow, white and the obligatory feminine pink.
The 4.7-inch screen has a resolution of 480 × 272. It supports AVCREC, MPEG4 and AVC/H.264 formats. The square machine can run for 2 1/2 hours on battery power alone, enough time to finish all but the most bloated epics from Hollywood, and also has an AC adapter. The package includes stereo headphones and a remote control.
If Bluedot could have squeezed in a bigger screen, say 6 inches or so, while keeping the weight down, it would have had a more compelling product. As a virtually single-use device it needs to offer an obviously bigger viewing experience than that available from its 3- or 4-inch multipurpose rivals. The price of ¥14,800 is low enough, however, to give it some appeal. www.atpress.ne.jp/view/12420