An this is why with the UXP function for android
the next PSP may infact be made as a phone:
A Closer Look at Sony’s New Skin for Android Phones
March 8, 2010
Sony Ericsson’s new Android-based phone interface, like those from other cellphone manufacturers, integrates Facebook, Flickr, Twitter and other social networking services into one unified portal on your portable. The difference is that Sony Ericsson’s interface — UXP, formerly known as Rachael — actually looks useful.
The company plans to launch a slew of new Android-based phones this year. Top of the list is the Xperia X10 — which confusingly carries the same codename that UXP used to have: Rachael. It’s a device with a 4-inch touchscreen, a 1-GHz Snapdragon processor and 8.1 megapixel camera that will be available this quarter. The company will also introduce the Mini, a compact phone with a 2.6-inch display that will be available in a touchscreen-only version as well as one with a slide-out keyboard.
But it’s UXP that forms the heart of these phones’ experience. Sony Ericsson has been working on the UXP interface for more than two years, the company says.
“We have done extensive skinning of the Android platform. because we really wanted to make it a bespoke experience,” says George Arriola, head of user experience for Sony Ericcson.
Sony’s UXP interface attempts to do the same thing as rivals like Motorola’s MotoBLUR: namely, aggregate social networking feeds such as Facebook and Twitter into one stream, integrate that data with your phone address book and contacts, and personalize the multimedia experience.
“We took a very sophisticated PlayStation middleware and shrunk it to fit the Android OS,” says Arriola.
Palm was the first of the smartphone makers to kick off the trend of integrating social media updates and contacts with the launch of the Palm Pre, though the Pre was based on Palm’s own operating system webOS, not Android. But the Android phones launched since then have tried to follow the path blazed by Palm.
Motorola has the MotoBlur interface that’s now a part of most of its phones, including the Cliq, Backflip and Devour. HTC has introduced Sense, its custom UI that’s available on phones such as the HTC Hero and upcoming phones including Legend and Desire.
But Sony’s UXP interface is the most visually attractive implementation that I have seen so far.
XMB running inside the Android OS anyone?
At the heart of Sony’s experience is a widget called Timescape. Timescape collects social networking feeds and presents them in a card-like view. A bar at the bottom of the screen has little icons that lets users filter the information stream by network such as Facebook, Twitter or Flickr.
The phone also updates the address book with a contact’s latest social networking update. That means if you click on a name in your address book, you can see their last social-feed post and use it as a reference point while making the call.
What makes this experience slick is the way the cards rain down on the screen, offering an almost 3-D–like effect as they scroll past. Clicking on one of the cards pulls up the contact and their status update.
Rather than contribute to info clutter, Sony’s attempt to jazz it up by using better visual effects actually does make it easier to handle the information stream.
The UXP interface also introduces a concept called “infinite pivot” — an infinity-shaped icon that helps you drill deeper and pull up related views.
Sony is also trying to offer a better experience for music, video and photos. The widget that controls this is called Mediascape. Click on the Mediscape icon and you get three options: My Music, My Videos and My Photos.
Music and videos are divided into recently played, recently added and favorites. There’s also access to PlayNow, Sony Ericsson’s music-downloads service.
A recommendation engine can suggest other artists or songs based on the music preferences of a user. Clicking on the infinite-pivot icon next to an artist’s name in music and videos offers suggestions and even searches the web.
And in a bid to keep the custom look throughout the phone, Sony redesigned the interface to services such as the phone dialer, calendar and alarm, says Arriola.
Overall, Sony Ericsson’s UXP skin for Android is not as confusing as the MotoBlur interface and more polished than the HTC Sense UI. Instead, UXP is a snappy, sophisticated treat. It works, though, only if you buy into the premise that instead of checking your Facebook and Twitter when you want to (as in the iPhone), you would like these services streamed and updated constantly to your phone.
Now if only they could get U.S. wireless carriers to offer Sony Ericsson phones on contract — and at prices slim enough to match the hardware.
Check out the candid photos of the Sony UXP interface on the Xperia X10 phone below.