March 29, 2010 | by Andrew Kameka
Sony Ericsson’s XPERIA X10 adds many changes to Android, including the way it handles music, movies, and photos. The Mediascape app that SE created is the media management app that I have always craved. In addition to looking great, it makes finding the right song much easier than the default Music app. Mediascape organizes music, videos, and photo content in a great way. The app centralizes all media content, so here’s a more detailed feature of each portion.
Sony Ericsson stores music locally and includes integration with Sony’s PlayNow (I couldn’t test this feature because it’s not yet available in the U.S.). The UX is carried out wonderfully in Mediascape, which slides horizontally through different classifications. Unlike the default 4 tabs, Mediascape organizes songs by 10 labels: Recently Played, Recently Added, Favorites, Artists, Albums, Tracks, Genres, Playlists, Podcasts, and Audiobooks. The search function is always at hand, making it much easier to find and play music.
The XPERIA also taps into the web via the Infinity button. From any song, users can press the Infinity to access PlayNow content or search for YouTube videos connected to that artist. While listening to one of my all-time favorite songs – Sade’s “Jezebel” if you must know – I’m able to easily search YouTube and watch clips from her Lovers Live performance DVD.
There is no “Gallery” app on the XPERIA X10. Photos are accessible through the Mediascape app. Familiar Android users will quickly adjust and new users will be impressed by the polished presentation. The photo portion stores images from the SD card, taken with the X10 camera, or added from online. Users can link to Facebook or Picasa accounts to be able to browse albums stored online. The media app even includes a number of slideshow settings for transitions and duration. The Facebook and Picasa links are self-updating, so any change made online will reflect on the phone. What’s great about the stored images is that Mediascape allows users to tag faces and browse all photos of a specific person.
Video playback is fairly similar to the music section of Mediascape. Users can browse through recently viewed videos, recently added, favorites, all videos, and podcasts. The playback controls are easy to use, and the entire video library is searchable. Thanks to its 4-inch screen and gorgeous playback quality, watching YouTube or downloaded clips is a great experience.
I’ve been a vocal critic of Android’s default music player, but Mediascape addresses all of my previous gripes. I would have preferred Mediascape being separated into three distinct apps – or at least had the option to create a shortcut to a particular section – but I am pleased with the multimedia experience on the X10. For the first time, I feel comfortable leaving my iPod at home and making a phone act as my primary media device.