By Jared Newman | Monday, August 9, 2010 at 4:54 pm
Sony Ericsson’s Xperia X10, which has been sold unlocked to U.S. customers since at least March for $1,000, and now $550, finally got its first subsidy from AT&T. And unlike other Android phones with big screens, fancy cameras and fast processors, the Xperia X10 costs $150 with a two-year contract.
That gives Sony Ericsson a $50 edge over Samsung’s Captivate on AT&T. On other carriers, Android superphones also stick firmly to $200, including the Droid X, Droid Incredible, and HTC EVO 4G. Motorola’s original Droid cost $200 at launch, and it looks like the same will be true for Droid 2.
What gives? The Xperia X10 isn’t lacking in hardware. It has a 1 GHz Snapdragon processor, a 4-inch touch screen display and an 8.1-megapixel camera with smile detection. And while Sony Ericsson is behind the competition on software — the phone ships with Android 1.6 over a custom interface, instead of version 2.1 like every other high-end handset — the company is promising to roll out updates.
I’m just speculating, but it wouldn’t surprise me if Sony and AT&T worked out a lower price because Sony’s been mostly absent from the high-end smartphone race stateside, while Motorola and HTC gobble all the market and mind share. (Remember when we thought the Sony Ericsson Satio, nee Idou, would be a legitimate iPhone competitor?) In any case, a $150 price tag looks good next to AT&T’s other smartphone choices, like the aforementioned Captivate and the 16 GB iPhone 4.
Just one thing to keep in mind when buying: If you’re a first-time smartphone owner, $50 is nothing compared to AT&T’s $25 monthly data charge. In the end, you’ll want a smartphone that makes you happy for two years, not one that saves a few bucks up front. I haven’t tried Sony’s Xperia X10, but I wouldn’t recommend it on the sticker price alone.