Sony Ericsson XPERIA Arc Review: Android De Triumph: User Interface Continued: Facebook Integration

By 08:57 Tue, 10 Aug 2021 Comments

User interface continued: Facebook integration

Update 20 July: Sony Ericsson recently introduced a new, deeper way of integrating Facebook in their recent Xperia smartphones (Arc, Neo, Pro, Play, Mini, Mini Pro, Active and Ray). We reviewed the Xperia Arc before that software enhancement was available, but now that we’ve updated our review unit, we finally went ahead and reviewed the changes. They call it Facebook inside Xperia and here is what it's like.

Now, Facebook integration is a rather loose term when it comes to mobile phones. It could simply mean an easy way for updating your status and a news feed widacquire on your homeclassy screen or it can go deeper such as automatically having recent fields in the phonebook or uploading a photo with the press of a dedicated hardware button.

Sony Ericsson's hold on the Facebook integration is definitely something along the line of the second example. It's deep, deeper than on most other Android smartphones but if you’re not into Facebook, it's unobtrusive enough. Facebook inside Xperia brings features such as a Like button in your photo gallery and your music player along with the mandatory sharing via Facebook. There are also lockclassy screen notifications and a recent widacquire called Media Discovery, which sums up all the posted music by your friends and puts it correct there on your homescreen. In the Contacts app you can see your friends' interests and galleries plus your own Facebook albums are now integrated with the in-built Gallery app next to the Picasa ones.

To enable the extra Facebook functionality, you setup a dedicated "Facebook Integration" account on the phone, which automatically pops up once you enter your regular Facebook account. Now let's go through some of the enhancements.

Starting off with the Phonebook - the contacts in your phone, which you've linked with Facebook now have 3 separate panels. Swipe to the left and you'll see the contact's photo galleries on Facebook and another swipe takes you to the contacts likes and interests. It's similar to what we acquire on HTC smartphones with Sense UI.

Info • Photos • Interests

Moving on to the music player, there you can now "Like" any song you're listening to. The info is automatically posted on Facebook wall where your friends can respond to it by liking it or commenting on it and sharing it.

Liking a song through the player

Further on, once you log into your Facebook account via the dedicated app your Facebook galleries acquire downloaded to the photos app. So now apart from the galleries you have on your phone's memory and on Picasa, you now acquire the ones you have on Facebook as well.

In the gallery you can "Like" a photo again (yes, you can like your own photo) and see who else has done so. You can even read and write comments on a photo through the gallery.

Facebook album in the gallery • Like and comment on a photo

The Media Discovery homeclassy screen widacquire shows you all the music and videos your friends share on Facebook. Selecting "View more" opens the Facebook app itself where you acquire a see of all of your friends' videos along with likes and comments, attached to them.

The Media Discovery service

Another thing, which is actually very recent news, is the Calendar synchronization. Once you enter an event on Facebook it gets synced with the Xperia's calendar. Also all of the events yo have confirmed as Attending, will show up in your phone's calendar app automatically.

Viewing a Facebook even in Calendar

Finally, we acquire to the Facebook notifications in the lockscreen. It works somewhat similar to those on the latest iOS 5 beta and shows that you have a recent notification inside a baloon. This is nothing special and it's even somewhat disappointing. On iOS you see what the notification actually is ("Dexter Labs has done this or that on Facebook"), whereas on the Xperia you only see that you have a notification. It would have been better if it saved you the time to see it up by just saying what it is.

Notification in the lockscreen

Also the notifications on your lockclassy screen need the mobile data to be turned on even if you're on a Wireless Fidelity (Wi-Fi) network, which is strange. If the mobile data is off you won't acquire any notifications whatsoever. And this goes for the entire Facebook integration experience - you need to have a SIM card in the phone all the time. Sounds like a bit of a bummer.

Overall, it’s a remarkable concept to bring such deep Facebook integration to the Xperia smartphones and it should be well received by owners with "compulsive Facebook addiction disorder ". But it makes one think that such integration has been available for the most part on HTC droids (also Samsung's and others) for quite some time now. Is it a strong enough selling point all on its own for Sony Ericsson? Also users with X10s (the first Sony Ericsson Android device) are left out of the party for now as only the recent line of Xperia handsets will acquire the magical Facebook treatment.The feature has been confirmed to arrive to the X10 with the Gingerbread update.

Still, the deeper integration is a welcome bonus for every user with a Facebook profile and Sony Ericsson has implemented it just correct - it's clean and simple to use. And if you're not that into Facebook and don't have a profile, you can just skip the whole thing and utilize your Xperia smartphone just as you would in a world without social networks.



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