I’ve been following the Android Linux phone phenomenon with interest since it began, even going so far as to download the SDK and start learning to write Android apps. All I had left to do was choose the Android phone I wanted for myself. First I wanted the HTC Magic, but then I saw the Hero video on-line and fell in love. Since Australia is the A$$ end of the world as far as tech companies are concerned, it took so long for the Hero to arrive here that before they did, I fell in love with the Sony Ericsson Xperia X10, it had twice the screen resolution twice the CPU power, a fantastic camera with flash and a flashy interface. I wanted one badly. When it was announced, it was the most technically advanced android phone on the market.
Fast forward months and months and I don’t have one yet. Why? because nobody else does either. When Sony-Ericsson announced the phone, it’s features were unrivalled. Now however, it still isn’t out, but it’s features are no longer outstanding. Motorola’s Droid, the Google Nexus one and others have most or all of the features of the Xperia X10, the main difference being that you can actually buy a Droid or Nexus one right now if you want to. (not in Australia yet, but you get the idea.)
An added sting is that the Motorola Droid (2.0.1) and Google Nexus one (2.1) are shipping with much newer versions of Android than the Xperia X10 (1.6) so in some ways it’s behind the 8 ball before it even joins the race. Why have all the other phone companies that wanted to, been able to design, manufacture and release outstanding Android phones, except Ericsson? There is already talk about Snapdragon 1.5ghz CPU Android phones, so unless the X10 gets out the door really soon, it will totally underwhelm the market when it finally does arrive.
Don’t get me wrong, the specs on the Xperia X10 still make my mouth water, particularly the screen and the camera, but if I’m going to spend big bucks on a phone, I’ll want it to be at the forefront of technology for at least a few months and the way it looks to me now, by the time it does get here, it will already be outdated. This phone had the potential to change the game for Sony-Ericsson, and now it is likely to under perform. Not because it’s a bad phone, just because the hype is gone and it isnt’ really special anymore.
Sad really, I had my heart set on one of these things and now I’m looking into buying a Google Nexus one.
Sony-Ericsson have had a hard time of it lately and if this is any indication, it’s not difficult to see why in my opinion. Building hype is great, but if you don’t actually sell the phone at the hypes peak, it declines. That is what happened here, the Xperia X10 took so long to come to market that it was overtaken by Motorola and Google who are now beneifiting from much of the hype generated by the X10 video’s and reviews all over the net.
I think these phones and the iphone are the future of the web for us, or at least a big part of it. There are a lot more mobile phones in the world than there are computers so the market is huge for the mobile Internet. My prediction is that 5 years from now, 60+ percent of the smart-phone market will be running on Linux/Unix based phones. Most of these will be used for browsing the net as well as social networking. It’s worth making sure your sites look OK on them.