It takes all sorts to make a world

Sony Ericsson has been blessed by some good news lately. The other day AT&T started selling the Xperia X10 in the US and the European Imaging and Sound Association (EISA) awarded the Xperia X10 mini “European Mobile Phone 2010-2011”. Earlier on, the same phone received the red dot award for product design. Congratulations!

More than a straightforward implementation of the Android OS in an iPhone-form factor, the Xperia X10 mini demonstrates an OEM’s creative divergence from the mode du jour and value-adds in terms of the Sony Ericsson UI additions, the overall design and finish.

After the iPhone launch in 2007 it has been fascinating to see smartphone after smartphone quickly imitating its form factor. For a while it seemed as if the Motorola Razr blockbuster phenomenon never happened. However, we must remember that consumer purchase criteria do not change as quickly as Apple and Google would have us believe. Of course there are lots of people for whom a small phone, a sturdy phone, a long-lasting-talktime phone, or a powerful-antenna phone is more attractive than one with a large screen, just as some prefer a physical QWERTY keyboard to a touch screen keyboard. The better then, if a small phone can offer a smartphone experience. In a way, this was specifically acknowledged by EISA by awarding a smartphone the mobile phone award. Size won the jury, and an “uncompromising smartphone experience” was a value-add.

Remarkable then, that in their award motivation, EISA concludes “Its small size and weight and variety of vivid case colours make it perfect for introducing the fairer sex to smartphone technology”. Geez, we wonder on the composition of that 50-person jury… As long as this kind of sexist thinking prevails, there is certainly room for more changes in the consumer electronics business!

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