The first Android smartphone from Sony Ericsson hits Australia later this month on Optus, Telstra, Vodafone and Three, on contract and outright sale.
Sony Ericsson may be coming late to the Android party but it wants everyone
to know they’ve arrived.
The company’s first Android handset, the Xpedia X10, will be offered through all four Australian carriers – the first Android smartphone to do so.
Competitors such as HTC and Motorola have preferred to ink exclusivity agreements with individual carriers, or in the case of HTC Hero and Tattoo to bypass the carriers entirely and follow a retail-only strategy.
The X10 would arrive “towards the end of this month, and we expect all the carriers will launch it around the same time” Tim Barnes, Head of Marketing for Sony Ericsson’s Oceania region told APC. “However, they have slightly different test processes so that could change how quickly things get to market”.
The models carried by Optus and Vodafone will support both the 2100MHz and 900MHz 3G bands, while Telstra and Three will get an X10 built for 2100MHz and 850MHz (Next G).
“We try to differentiate with our operators through things like customisation – we’ll do certain thing with operators that makes the X10 specific to them” said Barnes.
In addition to contract sales, carriers will have the option to offer the Xperia X10 for outright sale at an RRP of $1,099.
Barnes also told APC that the diminutive X10 Mini and X10 Mini Pro – which pack the same Android goodness into a pocket-sized handset with a 2.5 inch screen, compared to the X10’s 4 inch panel – will follow in the first half of the year, with the aim of these also being available across all carriers and networks.
Coming soon: the pint-sized Xperia X10 Mini Pro (at left, with a slide-out QWERTY keyboard) and the X10 Mini
The X10 is powered by a 1GHz Snapdragon processor but still sports Android 1.6, atop which Sony Ericsson has loaded its Timescape and Mediascape applications for social networking and multimedia.
The company will mount a major marketing push for the X10, which Barnes describes as “our hero handset”.
“We’ve had our field team out for eight weeks so that retailers can get their hands on the X10 and understand the Android platform as well as our signature Timescape and Mediascape apps the differentiation we bring to the user interface.”
“We’ve also done a very good job of seeding that message through social networking sites, which is part of our marketing strategy, because social networking is taking off in such a big way and the X10’s Timescape and Mediascape applications bring all that together.”