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Friday, 30 December 2011

Meet Google's Android smartphone

Meet Mr. Android 2011

by Leslie Katz
BlueStacks says it plans to come up with
a Ms. Android in 2012.(Credit: BlueStacks)
The typical Android user apparently does not look kindly upon flip-flops, opting instead to pair his jeans and T-shirt with the far-more-practical sneakers.

We say "he," because the typical Android user is male, according to the folks at BlueStacks, a startup that makes software for running Android apps on Windows PCs. Using data from Nielsen, as well as information culled this month from more than 145,000 of its Facebook followers, BlueStacks created a composite Android user dubbed Mr. Android 2011.

"Mr. Android is everything Android users are...all their dynamism, visualized as one person," John Gargiulo, vice president of marketing and business development at BlueStacks, tells CNET.

So how would you spot Mr. A 2011 walking down the street?

Well, while there's a 47 percent chance he has black hair, green-haired Android users are an extremely rare species, clocking in at only 3 percent of those polled. Subtle pompadours, however, appear to fit the Android aesthetic, a trend marketers of hair products may wish to keep in mind.
It's worth noting, as BlueStacks points out, that the data used to create composite Android guy is "unscientific, but then again, so is love" (an area, according to the poll, where Android users fare just fine, thank you very much, nerd stereotypes).

Nonetheless, makers of Android hardware and software may be able to glean a few useful (if not brand new) insights here.

For example, 62 of those polled use Android for play; 38 percent use Android for work; a third have zero paid apps on their phone; and average monthly data usage tallies up to 582MB (compared with iPhone users, who grabbed 492MB of data, according to a Nielsen survey conducted earlier this year).

But onto the stuff that's really going to matter in that Mr. Android pageant...

When it comes to accessorizing, 37 percent of Android users polled wear glasses; and, somewhat oddly, 45 percent wear one of those fast-becoming-obsolete wristwatches (a mind bender from Tokyoflash, we're guessing).

We're especially interested to hear that 30 percent of Android fans polled have freckles, a stat that baffled us at first but could be explained by Android's reported dominance of the Sun Belt.

So, Android users, do you see yourself in this image?

Leslie Katz, senior editor of CNET's Crave, covers gadgets, games, and myriad other digital distractions. As a co-host of the now-retired CNET News Daily Podcast, she was sometimes known to channel Terry Gross and still uses her trained "podcast voice" to bully the speech recognition software on automated customer service lines.

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Android in a tiny package

It may be small but the Sony Ericsson Xperia ray smartphone is packed with features.


The first thing you will notice about the Sony Ericsson Xperia ray is its size. In a market dominated by large Android smartphones, the Xperia ray is rather unique. Of course, the small size makes it easy to use and store - the Xperia ray can easily slip into one's front pocket or even in a women's dinner bag.

The review unit we received has a pink shell which makes it look rather feminine. But not to worry as it also comes in other colours, namely black, gold and white.
HARDY: Xperia ray's display is made from scratch resistant mineral
glass so you don't have to worry about it being scratched easily. 
In use

Since it is a compact smartphone the obviously downside will be the screen size which is only 3.3in. Some may find the screen a bit too small to play games while others may find watching videos a bit of a hassle.

Although it was good enough for browsing webpages but one can't help but wish for a bigger screen for a better experience.

Despite its size, the Xperia ray's display is sharp and vibrant. Sony Ericsson says it is powered by its mobile Bravia Engine which makes it great for viewing photos and watching videos.

The display is also made from scratch resistant mineral glass so you don't have to worry about it being scratched easily.

Snapping photos and videos with the Xperia ray was a fun experience. The front-facing camera on the smartphone makes it easy to snap self-portraits in VGA resolution.

For more serious photo taking there's the 8.1-megapixel rear camera which works great and has lots of cool features such as face detection, scene detection and smile detection.

You even get three options for smile detection - big, normal and faint smile. How cool is that?

Although it doesn't have two cameras the smarphone has a feature called 3D Sweep Panorama which allows it to capture 3D images.

However, you will need a 3D TV to view them.

Other standard features include geo-tagging and red-eye reduction.

The camera can also shoot 720p HD videos and can be easily uploaded to YouTube to share them with family and friends.

The Xperia ray, which is powered by 1GHz Qualcomm MSM8255 Snapdragon processor, is fast.

Launching apps is almost instantaneous and there is no lag generally. You can download tons of app from the Android marketplace and the phone comes with a 4GB card for storing them.

For text input, the phone has a virtual keypad. It wasn't easy for me to type messages as the screen is small and the keypad is very tiny. I would have much prefferd a physical Qwerty keypad instead.

One of the nice features of the Xperia ray is its built-in radio tuner which allowed me to listen to my favourite radio station while waiting for friends. Also, the bundled earphones were pretty decent for listening to music.

In terms of battery life, the Xperia ray lasted a whole day of usage which mainly consisted of surfing the Web, watching videos on YouTube and downloading applications.


Overall, the Sony Ericsson Xperia ray was a fun smartphone to use even for a non-Android fan like me. It is fast, has a great camera, the screen is beautiful and comes with a nice pair of earphones.

On the downside, the Xperia ray's small screen makes it difficult to use the virtual keypad. If you are looking for a compact Android smartphone, the Xperia ray is definitely one of the better ones.

Pros: Sharp and vibrant screen, decent camera, nice earphones.

Cons: Small screen.

Xperia ray
(Sony Ericsson)
Android smartphone
NETWORK: GSM 850/900/1800/1900, HSPA 850/900/1900/2100, GPRS/EDGE
OPERATING SYSTEM: Android 2.3 (Gingerbread)
DISPLAY: 3.3in touchscreen (480 x 854-pixels)
CAMERA: 8.1-megapixels (rear) with autofocus, VGA camera (front)
CONNECTIVITY: Bluetooth, WiFi, micro USB
EXPANSION SLOT: MicroSD (bundled with 4GB card)
STANDBY/TALK TIME: 440 hours/7hours
OTHER FEATURES: A-GPS, radio tuner, 720p HD video recording (720p)
DIMENSIONS (W x D x H): 111 x 53 x 9.4mm
WEIGHT: 100g
PRICE: RM1,279
Review unit courtesy of Sony Ericsson, 1-800-88-9900

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