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Android phone sports 8.1-megapixel camera

Sony Ericsson announced its first Android phone, along with a "UX" user interface targeting social networking. The Xperia X10 offers from 8 to 16GB of flash storage, a four-inch touchscreen, and an 8.1-megapixel camera with face recognition and geo-tagging, plus the usual 3G, WiFi, Bluetooth, and GPS features.

Basic specs and a photo of a Sony Ericsson "Xperia X3" Android phone appeared briefly on the Expansys retail site in July. The specs listed then still ring true today, revealing a high-end smartphone with a screen size (four inches) and camera resolution (8.1 megapixels) that appears to beat any Android phone announced to date.

The big screen boosts the phone's size to 4.7 x 2.5 x 0.5 inches, which could be a turn-off for some users, and it's a bit troubling that the company does not list estimated battery life. Still, the display should be a big plus for many, especially since no physical keyboard is offered.

Sony Ericsson, a long-time, jointly owned spin-off of Sony and Ericsson, does not appear to list the processor that powers the device, but according to a CNET story today, the phone uses Qualcomm's 1GHz Snapdragon. The Snapdragon, which is widely viewed as being a faster, more powerful system-on-chip than other high-end smartphone SoCs such as the Texas Instruments OMAP3430, is also appearing in Acer's new phone, the Acer Liquid.

The Xperia X10 will ship with 1GB of RAM and an 8GB microSD card, upgradable to 16GB, says Sony Ericsson. The phone's four-inch, 854 x 480 pixel touchscreen offers gesture control plus auto-rotate capabilities, says the company.

No carriers have yet been announced for the Xperia X10, but cellular network support includes GSM GPRS/EDGE as well as UMTS/HSPA. The phone also offers WiFi, Bluetooth, GPS, and a micro-USB connection, which is available for charging, synchronization, and file transfer, says the company.

Aside from its large screen and new UX applications (see farther below), the most notable feature of the X10 is its 8.1-megapixel autofocus camera. The camera offers 16x zoom, image stabilization, and video recording, says Sony Ericsson. Integrated software includes geo-tagging and face recognition (see farther below). Initially available in black and white, the phone is available with an optional "MW600" Bluetooth stereo headset, with FM radio and its own LED display.

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