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Sony Ericsson's Xperia X10 Mini: The Teardown Skinny

01 Nov 2010

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High-end smartphones, such as Apple's iPhone series and Google's Nexus One, might capture a disproportionate percentage of industry attention, but plenty of folks just want a handset that will make and take calls, handle e-mail and Web surfing, and fit comfortably into a normal-sized pocket, too. Sony Ericsson's Xperia X10 mini, which the company based on Google's Android operating system, aims to address this market need. Does it succeed? iFixit and EDN decided to find out.

The diminutive device measures 3.3 × 2 × 0.6 inches and weighs 3.1oz. It comes in two versions: the conventional variant and a professional model that also includes a QWERTY physical keyboard and consequently weighs 1.1oz more. Both devices leverage a Synaptics ClearPad 2000 capacitive touchscreen and a Samsung 2.6-inch LMS255GF02 QVGA LCD, whose resolution limitations preclude the installation of some Android Market-sourced applications. A controller IC, also from Synaptics, drives the display. Although it supports two-finger-touch capabilities, the Android Version 1.6 variant currently running on the handset doesn't support multi-touch functions. Sony Ericsson plans to offer an Android Version 2.1 upgrade for the entire Xperia X10 line by the end of the year. It also plans a variant of the "mini"-handset hardware design, currently code-named Yendo, with availability forecast by the end of this quarter. This version will dispense with Android and instead harness a Sony Ericsson-proprietary operating system.

1. The processing nexus of the Xperia X10 mini is Qualcomm's MSM7227 Snapdragon ARM-based chip set, which the company unveiled in February 2009. The MSM7227 targets system designs selling for less than $150; HTC's HD mini and Legend and Kyocera's Zio M6000 also use the MSM7227. It includes a 600MHz application processor with a floating-point unit; a 320MHz application DSP; a 400MHz modem processor; hardware-accelerated 3D graphics; integrated Bluetooth Version 2.1 with A2DP (advanced-audio-distribution-profile) capabilities; support for a still-image camera with resolution of as much as 8Mpx; and 30-frame/sec video capture at up to a WVGA (wide-VGA) resolution. This particular hardware design uses a 5Mpx still-image camera module with VGA-resolution video capture, autofocus, and built-in LED-flash illumination.

2. The Xperia X10 mini's 2Gbit NAND-flash memory, only half of which is user-accessible, comes from STMicroelectronics. The chip is a multi-die stack; inside the package, you'll find not only the flash memory but also 2Gbit of DRAM. MicroSD support enables Xperia X10 mini owners to somewhat augment the handset's built-in nonvolatile-memory capacity; the Android operating system currently allows only data storage—not application installation—on removable memory modules.

3. Qualcomm's chip set also comprises the PM7540 power-management IC and the RTR6285 UMTS (Universal Mobile Telecommunications System) HSPA (high-speed-packet-access) transceiver and AGPS (advanced global-positioning-system) receiver. Cellular-network-support options include GSM, GPRS (general packetradio service), and EDGE (enhanced data rates for global evolution) at 850MHz, 900MHz, 1,800MHz, and 1900MHz; UMTS HSDPA at 900MHz and 2,100MHz; UMTS HSDPA at 850MHz, 1,900MHz, and 2,100MHz; and UMTS HSUPA at 850MHz, 1,900MHz, and 2,100MHz.

The Xperia X10 mini offers IEEE 802.11b/g Wi-Fi as another wireless-connectivity option. Fueling all of the circuitry is a 3.7V, 950-mAh lithium-polymer battery, which users cannot remove. Like the battery in Apple's iPhone 3GS, the Xperia's battery delivers approximately 53mAh/gram storage capacity.

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