The Android Market has grown a lot. It offers over 80,000 apps, the majority of which are free.
Some apps (like the official Twitter client) require Android 2.1, which leaves the XPERIA X10 mini pro out. For now, that is Ė the Eclair update for the X10 family is coming up.
The Market organizes apps and games into two separate tabs, and each tab shows the best in the relevant category. The third tab keeps track of what youíve already downloaded.
Searching is very easy Ė just tap the search button, type what youíre looking for (e.g. ďnavigationĒ). From then on, itís pretty easy to choose Ė each app has a rating, a short description by the author, user comments and screenshots.
Applications vary from pretty basic tools (such as the one that turns the display into a flashlight) to real must-have's (including file managers, navigation software and more), but thatís true for every other app store.
It sometimes makes sense to start big and go smaller. In all honesty, their top Android phone doesnít quite stand up to the most recent competition. But since the original XPERIA X10, Sony Ericsson have been narrowing their focus Ė trying to make a difference. And in the end, the X8 and the two mini droids may pay off better than the flagship.
The Sony Ericsson XPERIA X10 mini pro is certainly not a phone without flaws, but itís hard to stay mad at it for long. And thatís not just because we have a soft spot for it. Itís mostly because the handset does what itís supposed to Ė and does it well. No one promised you great movie watching, out-of-this-world imaging or a full office suite.
The X10 mini pro is perhaps the smallest smartphone / QWERTY messenger Ė but by no means a lesser smartphone package than most. If it wasnít for the somewhat steep price it would be the easiest to recommend. Donít forget though that the X10 mini pro has only been selling for a week or so. And the price will drop to more reasonable levels sooner rather than later.
Letís now have a look around to see where possible competition might come from.
Of course anyone who doesnít do much texting should save themselves a few bucks and some pocket room and go for the Sony Ericsson XPERIA X10 mini. Itís the same package save for the physical keyboard. The X10 mini comes with a non-user-replaceable battery but thatís hardly a biggie. At the pace modern smartphones age, you are more likely to change your phone before you need to change its battery.
The FlipOut is Motorolaís take at a compact Android messenger. While we havenít seen this one in flesh, the rest of the QWERTY-enabled Motorola droids have impressed us enough to be optimistic on this one.
If you are willing to wander away from Android, the Nokia N97 mini is a larger but more capable QWERTY smartphone. However its usability is somewhat compromised by the unpolished S60 UI and it does take the mini tag far more lightly than the X10 mini pro.
The Vivaz Pro will give brand-loyal users a larger keyboard and a better camera for a few extra bucks. The thing is it comes with the pretty much the same S60 UI (though Sony Ericsson did get their own homescreen on top), which isnít nowhere near as fluid as Android.
The upcoming Nokia X5-01 merits an honorable mention. If a boxy smart messenger is an absolute must, do give it a look when it hits the shelves in the following months. You will get a 5 megapixel shooter and a QVGA screen but will have to live without a touch UI.
So as you can see even if alternatives do exist, none of them is able to perfectly match the Sony Ericsson XPERIA X10 mini pro spec-by-spec. Itís always good to first make up your mind about what you need.
OK, weíll say it again Ė everyone needs a phone. Few people need a smartphone. Fewer yet need a smart messenger. Now, what does that leave pint-sized smart messengers? It doesnít look good. But we know what does. A Sony Ericsson XPERIA X10 mini pro.