March 29, 2010 | by Andrew Kameka
Sony Ericsson’s UX platform reimagines Android with a slick new interface and integrated communication features. A major part of that redesigned experience is Timescape, SE’s integrated media and communication system that aggregates all the activity of the device owner and his or her friends.
Timescape is an interesting approach to content sharing. Users browse stacks of tiles revealing status updates from Facebook and Twitter, calls or text messages, unread email, and recent music, photos, or videos recorded or added by the user. Clicking on a tile brings up the information in a browser or corresponding app. A home screen widget provides a snapshot of the latest occurrence, while the full Timescape app features scrollable tiles that move with reasonable fluidity.
The Timescape app won’t replace anyone’s default social networking app full-time, but it is an entertaining way to view content. Having a friend stream pulled from multiple sites can be useful. Though profile images pulled from Twitter can scale poorly on titles, the link to that person’s activities is potentially appealing.
As a fan of Address Book, the XPERIA X10 won me over with Infinity, a feature that quickly identifies all links to your contacts. Pressing the Infinity button brings up all known content associated with that person. Status updates, previous contacts, and photos tagged with a friend’s name are all linked in Timescape, which allows users to reply or see more content in each category. This is not a must-have feature, but I love having the option of a streamlined view.
Sony has done well to greatly decrease the previous lag that plagued the X10′s early builds. Moving from app to app on the phone is smooth, and the touchscreen feels very responsive. However, there are times when it doesn’t feel like the X10 really takes advantage of its 1 GHz processor. Transitioning between functions in Timescape can take up to 2 seconds. This is not a huge sticking point because Sony expects to update the software shortly, but when you’ve seen a Nexus One blast through functions quicker than you can blink, it’s hard not to the notice slight pauses in Timescape.
Overall, Timescape is as slick and good looking as you may have expected. Will this be the must-have feature that makes you run to the store and purchase the XPERIA X10? No, but it will be a great feature for anyone who uses an X10. Timescape is similar to MOTOBLUR in that both systems aggregate content from social networks and alter the appearance of Android. By the time Sony removes the lags and integrates more services, Timescape will become as useful as it is visually appealing.