In addition to showing off the XPERIA Play as a PlayStation-certified Android 2.3 Gingerbread smartphone, Sony Ericsson was also demoing the XPERIA Pro at the Game Developers Conference. The XPERIA Pro will utilize a landscape-oriented slide out keyboard, rather than the PlayStation game controller on the Play, and has a 3.7-inch rather than the 4-inch display of the Play. In fact, hardware-wise, the XPERIA Pro is like the XPERIA Neo, but whereas the Neo is a slate-only smartphone, the Pro has the sliding keyboard with individually spaced keys.
With the XPERIA Pro, and similar to the flagship XPERIA Arc, Sony Ericsson has brought over Sony’s experiences in the home entertainment and photo/video segments. Like the Arc, the device has brought over display technology from the company’s HDTV expertise, known as the Bravia Engine, along with camera sensors from Sony’s CyberShot cameras.
While the XPERIA Pro, Neo, Play, and Arc all run the latest Android 2.3 Gingerbread operating system, the devices also sees some Sony Ericsson UI enhancements as well to make Android easier to use for consumers. It is interesting that Sony Ericsson says that they have re-thought their UI design from previous XPERIA Android phones, like the XPERIA X10, so that their UI doesn’t dominate the Android device, but complements Android. An example of this would be the new Sony Ericsson media widget, which combines, photos, music, and videos into one pane on the home screen. The design here is clean and subtle, and is understated. Compared to the old Mediascape widget of yore, this one doesn’t try to dominate and over-power Android, but adds to the clean looks of the OS.
Another notable feature, which is similar to the Universal-style search on webOS, allows users to just type what they want before launching any apps. For instance, you can type your tweet from any home screen, and then after you’re done, options will appear for you to either post as a tweet to Twitter or launch Google search if it’s a search term you’re looking for.