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Sony Ericsson has tools and vision to become dominant Android player

After a less than perfect start to its Android efforts, Sony Ericsson has hit the ground running in the new year. The company already has introduced four new smartphones since January and CEO Bert Nordberg told CNET at Mobile World Congress that Sony Ericsson is aiming to be the No. 1 Android player in the world.

That's a lofty goal for any company, but especially for Sony Ericsson. Can it really put the Xperia X10 and its software problems behind it and start anew? And, more importantly, what are the tools it needs to claim that top spot?

Given … Read more

Sony Ericsson Xperia Neo comes out of hiding

Sony Ericsson is busting out all over in the run up to Mobile World Congress. First, the company teased us with a peek at the long-awaited Xperia Play, and now we catch a glimpse of another handset called the Xperia Neo.

Android Community posted photos today of a candy bar smartphone that looks not unlike the new Xperia Arc. Like the Arc, the Neo should run Android 2.3 Gingerbread, though on a slightly smaller 4-inch touch screen. On the outside it also promises Mini-HDMI and Micro-USB ports.

According to Android Central, other features should include a 1Ghz Qualcomm processor, … Read more

Two years later, AT&T realizes Android's potential

After two years of lightly treading in the Android waters, AT&T is finally ready to start swimming for the deep end of the pool. And almost as if it were pure coincidence, the carrier's broader ambitions come into light as it prepares to lose exclusivity of the iPhone.

Looking ahead, AT&T has plenty of Android on the roadmap for 2011, confirmed by a recently leaked internal document. The details uncovered by Phandroid indicate that the carrier plans to offer at least 12 new devices in the coming year, including a pair of exclusive smartphones.

Looking at AT&T's current lineup of Android phones, it's hard to get very excited. Sure, the Captivate is a great device, but it doesn't stand out from the other Galaxy S models of its time. The Sony Ericsson Xperia X10 is fantastic hardware, but it's hindered by the outdated software. The rest of the roster is a lesson in smartphone mediocrity with assorted handsets from HTC and Motorola.

The near future looks to take sharp turn for the positive, however, with three new phones deserving of your attention.… Read more

Sony Ericsson swings back to black but sales slip

Sales of its Android phones and internal cost-cutting helped Sony Ericsson returned to profitability in its fourth quarter. But overall sales were down, and results missed analysts' expectations.

For the quarter ended December 31, the Swedish mobile phone maker saw its net income hit 8 million euros ($10.8 million), a healthy swing from 2009's final quarter, which was hit by a loss of 167 million euros. Results were similar for all of 2010 as net earnings reached 90 million euros following a loss of 836 million euros in fiscal 2009.

Seeing 2010 as a turnaround year, the company … Read more

Sony Ericsson eyes fresh Android start in 2011

Like many of you, I've watched the rumors of a PlayStation Phone spread across the Internet over the last few weeks. After a so-so 2010 for Sony Ericsson, this is exactly the type of device that could cement Sony Ericsson as a top Android contender. That is, if they get it right. Ask any Android enthusiast about last year's Xperia X10 and you'll likely hear gripes about how badly the company missed the boat.

Once expected to be one of the premier Android phones on the market, the Xperia X10 arrived with muted fanfare. Though eventually it was successful at a couple of carriers around the world, it never took off in the United States, even though it landed at AT&T.

What was the primary reason for this missed opportunity? Outdated software, of course. Even with its 1GHz processor, 4-inch screen, and 8.1-megapixel camera, the phone was hampered by Android 1.6. That inability to run many of today's better applications turned many potential consumers away. And even now, as some Android handsets are getting 2.2 or even 2.3, Sony Ericsson is just pushing Android 2.1 out to various regions. Thankfully, however, the future looks much brighter.

As of right now, the PlayStation should come branded under the Xperia umbrella, possibly carrying the Xperia Play moniker. Although branding it specifically as the PlayStation Phone could be a better move, it will be easier for the company to fold it into the Sony Ericsson portfolio. What's more, listing it with the Xperia name ties it to its other efforts, notably the new Xperia Arc. … Read more

Android in 2011: Bigger, faster, thinner, lighter

After taking a few days to decompress and wrap my head around the Android news from CES 2011, I started to notice a couple of trends with the new devices. Not only are these phones getting substantially faster with bigger screens, but they are growing thinner and lighter at the same time.

As expected, the next Android phones are going to be much faster than today's handsets. We have dual-core smartphones like LG's Optimus 2X and the Motorola Atrix 4G on the horizon, and companies such as Samsung are pushing out single-core processor handsets with impressive 1.2GHz speeds.

And when you factor in 1GB memory capacities, you have two ingredients for 2011's "superphone." Well, at least for the first half of the year. At the rate things are moving, it's pretty difficult to forecast beyond six months.

Displays With screen size, big is in. What started with HTC's Evo 4G continues this year in force. In fact, it appears that the minimum display size for touch-screen phones now hovers around 4 inches or higher. Not only does a quick look show that some of the key handsets announced at CES have screens of 4.3 inches or larger, but Samsung's Infuse 4G is headed for AT&T with a 4.5-inch screen. Anything larger and we'll be into Dell Streak and tablet territory.

It's really funny considering that last summer, plenty of people balked at the Evo because it was considered too big. Was the success of the Sprint phone a driving factor in the new designs, or are handset makers simply moving the needle whether we like it or not? … Read more

A closer look at the Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc

Sony Ericsson released just one phone at CES, but the Xperia Arc is nothing to ignore. The hardware, to be frank, is stunning. The handset has a great feeling in the hand; we love the sleek profile; and the display is a looker.

The features are also impressive. We're particularly glad to see the device running Gingerbread--remember that the Xperia X10 ran OS 1.6 when it debuted--and the idea of the Bravia engine powering the media player is something we hadn't expected. We're still ambivalent about Timescape, and we hope it won't interfere with future … Read more

Sony Ericsson unveils Xperia Arc

LAS VEGAS--Sony Ericsson kicked off its CES experience today by announcing a new Android smartphone, the Xperia Arc. Though it's not the long-rumored PlayStation phone, the Android-powered handset offers an impressive load of features and a sleek candy bar design in midnight blue or misty silver.

Front and center on the Arc is the 4.2-inch, 16.7 million-color touch screen (854x480 pixels). Sony Ericsson is no slouch when it comes to displays so we're expecting a stunner here. The capacitive display also has an accelerometer, a multitouch interface, and a Sony Bravia engine.

Exterior features include three physical controls (back, home, and menu), a microSD card slot, and a 3.5mm headset jack. The Arc has a trim profile at 0.342 inch, but we're glad to see Sony Ericsson isn't trying to push it as "the world's thinnest smartphone." And even if it did, that race changes almost every day. … Read more

CES: Will Magnepan's new speaker be an open window to the music?

Magnepan, based in White Bear Lake, Minn., has built nothing but flat-panel speakers since 1969. The company will be premiering a new speaker, the MG 3.7, at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, from January 6-9. To some this may appear to be a deja vu event, mirroring last year's introduction of the MG 1.7, which turned out to be one of my speaker of the year picks for 2010.

But I wouldn't want you to think of Magnepan as one of those companies that rolls out "all new" models every year. The … Read more

ArcSoft updates TotalMedia Theatre

Ditching that premium cable subscription and bulky television in favor of accessing video content on the PC isn't for everyone, but software solutions like ArcSoft TotalMedia Theatre are aiming to make that option more attractive. The multimedia program developer updated its all-in-one media player today, bringing it to version 5 with plenty of new features designed to appeal to early adopters. And what is the hot video feature of the moment? If you guessed 3D, you're right on the money.

One of the main focuses of ArcSoft TotalMedia Theatre 5 is to incorporate plenty of new 3D functionality. … Read more