Sony Ericsson Xperia X10

We're not quite sure of any fun way to spin it: The Sony Ericsson Xperia X10 -- languishing with Android 1.6 and a clumsy first-generation of the Timescape and Mediascape interface -- is now slated to get a major software overhaul ... in the fourth quarter of this year.

According to the Sony Ericsson Product Blog, the major improvements will be:

  • Upgrade to Android OS version 2.1
  • HD video recording as per the same execution as Sony Ericsson Vivaz
  • Wireless home connectivity via DLNA
  • Improvements to signature applications Timescape and Mediascape to make them even smarter and richer

And those are welcome improvements -- if they were coming tomorrow. But October's a smartphone lifetime away. And that's one of the biggest problems we're seeing with Android fragmentation. The OS is progressing so quickly that custom interfaces just can't keep up. Granted there was a major shift between Android 1.x and 2.x, but still. For The Xperia line (the X10 Mini and X10 Mini Pro will get Android 2.1 updates in Q4, too) to get their updates nearly a year after Android 2.1 was first released is, sadly, laughable. [SE Product Blog]


Reader comments

Sony Ericsson Xperia X10 not getting Android 2.1 update until Q4 2010


Seriously?!? That sucks for them. I mean, Android 2.2 is most likely being unveiled this month...and they are going to get 2.1 in the Fall? What is this logic?

You mean I've got 2.1 on my Eris before this phone? I learned my lesson with the Eris, the next Android device I pick up will not have Sense on it. I don't want a manufacturer's customizations getting in the way of receiving a worthwhile update. The improvements I gained from the 2.1 (v3) leak made the Eris a more compelling device. Having access for multiple Google accounts, for example, is nice. I run several Google Apps Domains for businesses I support. Instead of having to filter them through a catch-all account, I can keep them separate.

As strange as it might sound, currently there is no incentive for the makers of custom Android GUI overlays to keep up with the platform.

How many people care to upgrade the firmware of their DVD player or whatever piece of electronics found in a modern house?

The phones are not much different. For a typical person (the one who doesn't read this blog) the purchase of a smartphone is terminal in a sense. Whatever software drives the device is often considered to be just fine for the life of it. Then a new phone comes into view when it's time to renew the contract.

Who cares about the upgrades? Geeks and developers.

Geeks don't count as they are a drop in the bucket from a device manufacturer's perspective. You can't sell in volume to geeks.

Mobile developers used to make their living by striking deals with phone manufacturers to make sure their software comes pre-installed on the phones. iPhone changed that with the AppStore. No more hassle and expense related to working out a deal with big guys - just drop your thing in and it's gonna fly, sometimes. Android followed the suite with Android Market. Same concept, different implementation. The only problem is there are so many flavors of Android that you can't just drop your app in and expect a carefree life upon the immediate retirement. Rather you either target a flagship device and the fraction of the market it represents, or, if you've graduated from the garage, go make deals with the big guys to make sure your app is pre-installed on their next phone.

However counter-intuitive it might sound, by upgrading their custom Android overlays the device manufacturers might be digging their own grave. Why would they be in a hurry?

Kind regards,
Borys Burnayev
GTD for Android and Web

I actually agree with you. Most people wouldn't/don't know what they're running even if they have stock Android. But I so wanted to get this *because* of the Rachel UI.

Where I think the problem in (not) putting 2.1 on is that it shows how SE will support the device going forward. SE has had a sordid reputation in that respect and this - although not necessary (2.1 that is) might be indicative of how they'll support the device later. And they've already waited forever to release it. Then put on 1.5 to boot.

It just doesn't bode well.