While many smaller manufacturers have been gunning to replace the iPhone since its inception, some notable big names, including Sony Ericsson, have been missing entrants in the touch-screen arms race until now. That changed on Monday, when Sony Ericsson unveiled the Xperia X1 touch-screen smart phone.
The phone’s design features either a solid black or brushed silver metal body, marked with a hint of geometric diamond design reminiscent of Nokia’s Prism phones. Unlike the iPhone, the X1 gets a handful of buttons and optical joystick at the bottom of its face to supplement the three-inch touch screen, and even more impressive, a full QWERTY keyboard that slides out in an arc from the back of the phone. A 3.2 megapixel camera with autofocus is also standard.
Though the Xperia X1 sticks with Windows Mobile to keep things running on the inside, Sony Ericsson has introduced its own custom Xperia panel interface, which displays up to nine different miniature screens in a grid for easy touch selection. Only up to 400MB of storage will be available internally, but the phone will support microSD cards for expansion.
In terms of connectivity, the X1 literally has it all. HSUPA technology takes the phone a step beyond standard HSDPA Internet access with vastly improved upload speeds on compatible networks, and there’s always the slower EDGE platform for areas where 3G isn’t supported. Of course, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity are also on board, along with assisted GPS, which uses cell towers to aid in navigation.
Sony says the Xperia X1 will be available in “select markets” by the second half of 2008, but prices have not yet been announced.