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Sony Ericsson gets inside Facebook

All the latest Sony handsets now benefit from enhanced Facebook integration in numerous areas

Sony Ericsson has updated its Xperia range of phones with Facebook inside Xperia. It’s a series of customisations to the Android operating system to better integrate facebook into Google’s mobile OS. It’s available on any Xperia handset that was launched with, or has been updated to, Android 2.3. This includes the new Xperia Arc and the upcoming Xperia mini and mini pro handsets, among others. Unlike HTC’s Facebook phones (Cha Cha and Salsa), there won’t be any Facebook branding on the outside of handsets, instead it’s a rather more subtle affair and one that will soon be omnipresent across the lineup.

All of these additions are easy to get up-and-running on your phone, you simply have to log into Facebook using the usual Android app, and then all the extra features are activated. You can access settings for these in the Sync app, where you’ll see two Facebook symbols, you’ll want the icon with the three buttons at the bottom. Here you can turn on or off the gallery, contacts and calendar syncing.


Essentially this adds a Like button to the built-in media player, so you can Like tracks you’re listening to at the touch of a button. The system uses web service Track ID to recognise the track you’re listening to and then put a post on your Facebook wall with the correct details and a link back to Track IDs page with the track details. It works well enough, most of the time, but there are occasional hiccups.

Xperia inside Facebook music

We tried to Like one of the tracks that came pre-loaded on the phone, and Track ID got the wrong end of the stick and posted that we were enjoying some strange Japanese pop track we’d never heard of. It’s not a huge deal for us, but if you live-and-die by your considered musical taste, then using the button could be a risky business, and having to go to Facebook to check on the post defeats the point of it entirely.

In short, it’s a good idea, but it could do with pulling the info from TrackID and displaying it in a pop-up before you confirm it.


Next up is the Media Discovery app, which pulls in all the media-related stuff that your friends have liked on Facebook. In our case this consisted of a big list of ‘comedic’ YouTube videos that our mates have linked to.

Xperia inside Facebook media

Select one of these and you get a screen that loads the video and shows what comments your friends and their friends have made about it – which adds a bit of context. It works just fine and is a good way of killing a few minutes on public transport, when you know what you want is media to enjoy, rather than tittle-tattle of status updates. Not a huge deal, but we did find ourselves using it more than we’d expected.

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