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Just under a month ago, Rogers launched the Sony Ericsson Xperia PLAY, the world's first PlayStation certified mobile device. The PLAY runs Android 2.3 Gingerbread, and has an impressive range of features. It has a 4" (480x854) touchscreen display, and is powered by a 1GHz processor, along with 512MB of RAM. It has a 5MP camera along with a VGA front facing camera for video calling. Sony Ericsson has included their custom UI/launcher TimeScape, which has changed dramatically since the X10 line-up. The most unique feature is its PlayStation style game pad, which can be used for a variety of PLAY optimized games including PS1 Classics. So, how does the PLAY hold up as a smartphone and for gaming?

Beginning with the hardware, the PLAY is very nicely designed. It is a little bit thick compared to most current devices, but that is expected with the full game pad hidden under the screen. It has 3.5mm headset and microUSB ports on the left edge, while the right edge holds the volume and shoulder keys. Even though the casing is made of plastic, it feels relatively sturdy and durable, and the sliding mechanism is surprisingly solid. When you slide out the game pad, the PLAY really starts to shine, bringing that familiar PlayStation feel to your phone. The device fits fairly well in your hands when slid open, but might take a little bit of getting used to. The touchpads meant for use where joysticks or analog sticks would normally come into play, are a nice addition to the controls, though very strange to use at first. Like most gamers know, any new controller design takes some time to get completely accustomed to, and the PLAY's game pad is no exception. Still, it really brought a new element to mobile gaming, one previously found only in devices like the PSP or Nintendo DS. After using the Xperia PLAY, games on touchscreen-only devices seem weak and difficult to play, so beware when trying out your friend's new PLAY.




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The games themselves are entertaining, and the PLAY comes with 6 full version titles built-in: NFL 11, Star Battalion HD, Bruce Lee Dragon Warrior, Crash Bandicoot, Fifa 10, and Tetris. There are 5 more PS1 games available for purchase in Market for $5.75 USD each, and about 50 other PLAY optimized games and apps. Crash Bandicoot ran well and gives a great idea of what PS1 games will be like on the device. The sports games (Madden NFL 11 and FIFA 10) are great fun, and far more complex than you might think, and the other games were just as entertaining and immersive. Unfortunately Tetris didn't make use of the slide-out controls, but it is a simple enough game that the touchscreen is fine.




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As a smartphone alone, the PLAY runs just as well as most current Android handsets. OS 2.3 Gingerbread performs well, and TimeScape doesn't seem to have as strong of an impact on performance as with the X10. The application tray features custom sorting, and there are a variety of widgets pre-installed. There are media widgets that include music controls, shortcuts, and a scrolling image/video wheel. There are also a couple of clock widgets available, all of which can be used on any of the 5 home screens.

Other parts of the device that are worth mentioning include the display and camera. The display isn't very bright when turned all the way up, though it can get you by. To those who normally enjoy very bright and crisp displays like super AMOLED equipped devices may be let down however. The Camera is of decent quality, coming in at 5MP with an LED flash. It actually handles close-up shots very well, though mid and long range photos are of average quality. It can also record video at WVGA resolution, and surprisingly doesn't capture at 720p. Videos recorded with the PLAY are also average, looking great on your mobile screen but mediocre on larger displays.




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Lastly, battery life. The PLAY surprisingly held up very well, lasting longer than many devices in the current market. Even while gaming for a few hours, the battery indicator only dropped a sliver. Unfortunately it still doesn't compare to the life of the BlackBerry Bold 9700 or a few other devices, but considering its large screen and game pad, does very well.

Overall, the Xperia PLAY is a great device. It is a full-featured Android smartphone and really makes mobile gaming possible. Kudos to Sony Ericsson for producing a great, and very unique device! Hopefully they continue to create great handsets that stand-out and bring a new element to smartphones.

The Sony Ericsson Xperia PLAY is available from Rogers for $99.99 on a 3 year term or $549.99 contract free.


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Sony Ericsson X10 owners have been waiting for a very long time for an update Android version to come to their devices, and the time is fast approaching. Apparently the update will roll out to Rogers customers who own either an X10 or X10 Mini sometime in the week of November 8th, which is now only a few days away. The update is supposedly bringing features like 2 additional homescreens, a new lockscreen, and some updates to TimeScape, though we now have word that a couple of other changes will come as well - both devices will see battery life improved by 20-25%, the overall speed and navigation of the phone should be faster and smoother, and the X10 model will apparently be getting 720p HD video recording and playback. Hopefully the update doesn't get pushed back even further, but with such an extensive wait having already occurred, we can only hope that Ericsson and Rogers will have this one ready in time.


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Unfortunately we haven't gotten confirmation of exactly when the Android 2.1 update will be coming to the Sony Ericsson X10 as of yet, but we're pretty sure that it will drop sometime fairly soon. What we do know, however, is what you can expect to see with the OS update. TimeScape will be getting a small update that enables autoscrolling of information so users won't need to enter/exit applications to see full messages. Additionally, users will get 5 homescreens (as opposed to the existing 3), and each one will be capable of holding 20 icons rather than just 16. The other big improvement that's set to come with the update is continuous auto-focus, so when users are recording videos, the device will continually auto-focus based what it is capturing - a nifty feature that is sure to improve video recording on the device. No word yet on whether HD video capture or the LED flash will be enabled, but odds are Sony Ericsson would have mentioned those features, so it isn't looking good.


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Sony Ericsson X10 and X10 Mini owners have been waiting ever-so-impatiently for Android 2.1 Eclair to be released for their devices, and it seems like the time is finally coming near. Originally planned for earlier this year, the update has seen a number of delays and set backs, much like Android OS updates for other devices. For the X10, the update will provide 5 homescreens, HD video recording, and a few more features. The X10 Mini will see improvement to bluetooth connectivity, as well as TimeScape and MediaScape functionality. Unfortunately after 2.1 Eclair, the X10 series of handsets won't be getting future OS upgrades, so it looks like that's the end of the line.


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Rogers confirmed today that the Sony Ericsson X10 will be getting an update to Android OS 2.1 sometime this coming fall. Currently, the device runs Android 1.6 with Timescape, and is one of Rogers top-end devices. Rogers has also confirmed that they will be testing Android OS 2.1 on the HTC Magic+ sometime in June, though we will have to wait to see if the update runs well enough to be provided to users.

The confirmed X10 update will make it the second device running this version of Android OS, trailing behind the Acer Liquid E that just launched.


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It has been confirmed that Rogers will be carrying the Sony Ericsson X10 mini sometime in the future, though no release date or pricing information is available as of yet.

The X10 Mini features a 2.55" (240 x 320) touch screen, 5MP camera, and a 600MHz processor. It also supports HSPA and Wi-Fi connectivity for faster download speeds, and comes with 128MB of internal memory that is expandable up to 16GB via MicroSD. Like the X10, the X10 Mini runs on Android OS featuring Timescape UI, which will make it the latest addition to Rogers' Social View handset line-up.


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Today Rogers introduced a new Social Unlimited Price Plan, which will cost $50 for 200 daytime voice minutes, unlimited evenings and weekends, unlimited messaging, unlimited social networking, and 500MB of data. This improves on their current $50 voice and data plan which does not include unlimited social networking.

This new price plan will be available exclusively to Rogers Social View customers, meaning anybody using the HTC Magic, LG Eve, Sony Xperia X10, or the upcoming Motorola Quench.

Social View is Roger's name for amalgamated social timelines that pull information from your e-mail clients, text and picture/video messages, Twitter, and Facebook. Examples of these on the Rogers network include HTC's Sense UI, the Xperia X10's Timescape, or the upcoming Quench's MOTOBLUR.

Rogers.com/SocialView


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From the official Sony Ericsson Rep, any stores that has the X10 in stock can sell it before the launch date, which was schedule to be on the 15th.

Let us know how Timescape and Mediascape work for you!


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