Sony Ericsson LiveView remote phone viewer
The Android accessory that puts on a display
Review With top-end smartphones costing an arm and a leg, anything that reduces the chances of your cellular pride and joy getting damaged or pinched should find a buyer. Certainly, that's the thinking behind Sony Ericsson's LiveView remote viewer for Android handsets.
For Android 2 and above: Sony Ericsson's LiveView
The idea is simple: LiveView connects to your phone using Bluetooth and a free Market app pushes information to it from your handset. Out of the box LiveView allows you to see Facebook and Twitter updates, SMS messages, calendar notifications, RSS feeds and missed calls, and it tells you the time.
LiveView also lets you control your music and see who is calling when your phone rings, however, the only phone function is a facility to mute the ringer. Helpfully, the unit vibrates to alert you when a new update is pushed to it. If you lose your phone, the "Find Phone" feature will make it come off standby and chirrup to reveal which cushion it's fallen behind.
A word to the wise about compatibility. Naturally the LiveView works with all Sony Ericsson Android phones but they have to be running v2.0 or above, so that's the Xperia X10, X10 Mini, Mini Pro and X8, but only if you have updated them from Android v1.6. You can find a list of other manufacturers supported handsets here, but it's not comprehensive.
Functionality appears to vary with each handset
As well as an X10 Mini I tried LiveView with a HTC Desire HD running 2.2 and an Orange San Francisco running 2.1 and everything apart from the calendar function and music player track title display, selection and pause worked on both.
Next page: Wrist action
Got this for Xmas
.... after telling my wife about it.
The random connection problems are an issue but it has many major flaws:
#1: whilst it is great that it has a find my phone feature, over xmas, I was hoping for a "find my LiveView" feature as the unit pops off the wristband far too easily. And no, you can't glue it on, as it needs to pop off the wristband in order for the charging usb port to be accessible. Thus, since you charge it rather often (more on that in #2), the unit needs to be removed and put in place, which means it becomes even more likely to jump off the wristband...
#2: maybe it's a side effect of having to attempt to connect an fail so often, but the battery life was closer to a single day than anything, often far less than that.
#3: the unit reset many times, after which you'll not have a working clock until you get reconnect. It would reset sometimes spontaneously, sometimes when I powered it on to tell the time. Other times I'd have to reset it to see if it would connect or not... Often the battery would die before I managed a reconnection.
The three above issues are quite problematic, and make this feel like a prototype/experiment product that was rushed out to cash in on the Xmas sales - before much testing was done.
Having spent most of the xmas break wearing a non-functional device (dead battery), or a pointless device (couldn't connect after a reset so could not tell the time), or wearing just the wristband whilst retracing my steps to find where the little black square had gone to, I wasn't impressed. Then, after an LiveView app update was pushed to the market, the new Liveview client on my up-to-date, non-rooted & factory unlocked HTC Desire phone (supposedly one of the few supported devices), it worked perfectly from one glorious evening! (This was unfortunately after Xmas, after my family got to see their 'tech guru' show off his latest innovation that doesn't function (last year I had an Archos 5IT which after an OTA update decided to not connect to any wifi network - &*%!). That device got working after a few tweaks and updates, but it lives in a drawer and will be recycled soon enough.
So, back to the LiveView - it was WORKING !!! - I was living the dream finally! I got a call notification, then later a gmail notification and even read most of the email on my wrist. All the while I was able to tell the time whenever I wanted without taking my phone out of my pocket - I've not worn a wrist watch this century. Fantastic.
Alas, the next morning, the power button (one of only two buttons on the unit) stopped working rendering the unit completely useless.
It's being repaired at the moment by SE.
I love it, but it needs stability and a redesigned strap. At least it wasn't crazy expensive.
I'd recommend waiting for the next generation, or at the very least until a proper firmware update is released.
Not the only one on the market
I saw a number of similar devices when I stopped over in HongKong during New Years.
Perhaps these more generic types will prove more compatible to a greater variety of Android handsets.
Attend two "no phones allowed" 6 hour meetings and let's talk again
instead of leaving your phone in your draw before such meetings, where it can receive messages, that you cant read or respond to, receive phone calls, that you cant answer etc... you will now have a little gizmo (and why you could have one of those, but not a phone in such a meeting i dont understand) that will let you receive messages that you can read, but can't respond to and receive phone calls that you cant answer.
So instead of being in a meeting without your phone (I'm guessing because it's an important meeting, with no outside interruptions), your now in a meeting WITH your phone, but still unable to use it. Seems a bit odd to me.
is nearly here!
I wouldn't be surprised if Apple's next iPod Nano expanded on this idea- already people are buying straps to turn it into a watch. Apple would have an easier time allowing it to control many functions on a paired iPhone than Sony have with a multitude of Android phones since Apple know their own software and hardware. Doing so would provide a reason for iPhone users to buy a Nano too.