Thoughts on mobile blogging with the Sony Ericsson Xperia X1


Of the 71 posts I wrote while covering CES 2009, 39 of them were done live from the showroom using my Sony Ericsson Xperia X1 smartphone.

I took a photo using the X1’s 3.2-megapixel camera (in VGA resolution to keep the file size down), emailed it to a custom Flickr address with a subject line and a sentence or two, and hit “Send” for all three elements (photo, title, body) to publish automatically on this site. Each post created with this method was identified as a “moblog” by an email signature. I chose Flickr as my mobile blogging tool because the result (see example) looked most like my normal posts.

Now that CES is over and I won’t be mobile blogging again until MID Moves kicks off next week, I’d like to share my thoughts about using the Xperia X1 for on-the-go blogging.

Mobile Blogging: Pros

  • Immediacy. The most appealing aspect of mobile blogging was that it allowed me to show you what I was looking at . . . while I was looking at it. After taking a picture, I stood right in front of the photographed object (or off to the side if there was a crowd) to type the text and publish everything on the site.
  • Quantity. If you followed my CES 2008 coverage, then you probably noticed right away that the post count during the show more than doubled this year. Putting up quick posts throughout the day really helped with the backlog of content I dealt with last year, when I waited until the end of the day to post, and reduced the stretch of time between new posts. 71 new posts in about a week isn’t a lot for other sites, I know, but it’s a ridiculous amount for me.
  • Downtime. Blogging throughout the day meant that I had more free time at night. Though I still followed-up with more extensive posts once each day’s events were over, it took much less time and was less stressful than last year because the work was spread out.

Mobile Blogging: Cons

  • Quality. What prevented me from embracing mobile blogging before this is quality. The ability to share things as they’re happening can be abused very easily; on-the-go blogging can turn a website’s front page into a longer version of Twitter, which certainly has its merits but is also filled with a lot of noise. Once you discover how fun it is to “go live” with your readers, the temptation to post nonsense that doesn’t belong on the front page of a tech blog is great.
I struggled with the question of moblog quality a lot during CES, often canceling posts I almost sent to the site just because I could and because being at CES sometimes made me feel that anything that happened there was related to technology and could therefore become a part of the site. Example: “Well, I’m eating these nachos between visiting booths, so maybe I should post a picture of it and tell everyone that I’m taking a break between visiting booths.” Thank goodness for Twitter. Moblog quality is the reason I supplemented my mobile posts with longer, fuller posts with more and better photos at the end of each day.
  • Long-term value. The flip side to the immediacy I cited as a moblog advantage is long-term value. In most cases, there isn’t any. If someone wants to find out about webOS in the new Palm Pre, for example, my non-mobile post would be much more useful than my mobile one (although I went back into the latter to update it with a link to the former).

Mobile Blogging with Xperia X1: Pros

  • Size. The X1 isn’t the smallest or thinnest smartphone on the market, but I loved being able to slip it into my jacket pocket without ever feeling its size/weight. There were some events and days during CES that I carried nothing but the X1.
  • Power. There are certainly more powerful devices out there that could be used very well for mobile blogging, but the fact that the X1 allowed me to do it quickly, easily, and with little compromise (I didn’t make use of the functionality, but cut-and-paste and basic HTML for styling and adding URLs are supported by the Flickr method) made me realize how truly powerful a smartphone can be.
  • Battery. I didn’t run any drain tests, but the X1’s battery life never failed me. I set out each day with a full charge; used the phone’s camera, email, browser, and a Twitter client over 3G as much as I wanted to; and never ran out of juice. In fact, when the CES venues closed for the night (5pm or 6pm, depending on location), the X1 always had more than 50% of its battery left.
  • Keyboard. Even with my fingernails, which were longer than I usually like to keep them, typing on the X1 was great. I did make a few typos (corrected after the fact) and had to search for certain symbols sometimes, but typing was not frustrating or tedious. The keyboard’s size, backlighting, and tactile feedback made for a comfortable experience.

Mobile Blogging with Xperia X1: Cons

  • Camera. The X1’s camera is capable of taking good pictures, but it isn’t point-and-shoot easy to do so. For every photo that looked decent enough on screen to put on the site, there were about 4 or 5 unusable photos of the same shot. The X1 takes forever to focus: in the time it took for my photographer to take 5 pictures, I was still standing there like a statue to get the X1 to focus for the first shot.
  • Reliability. I blame Windows Mobile and maybe AT&T (the network I use the phone on) for this, as the X1 hardware has nothing to do with the sporadic “error synchronizing” messages that would prevent my emails/posts from being sent, the untimely soft resets sometimes needed to manually send an email/post, and the bizarre disappearance of a few tweets and an email/post that appeared in my “Sent Items” folder but was definitely not sent.
  • Speed. Again, this is Windows Mobile’s fault. The OS, in general, is just a bit laggy. The lag isn’t unbearable, but seconds feel like minutes (which are small eternities in the blogosphere) when waiting for 1) apps to redraw themselves when switching between portrait and landscape mode (sliding the keyboard in/out automatically switches the orientation), 2) the messaging app to launch after tapping the “email photo” icon when using the camera, and 3) my Twitter client to update.

Overall, I’m satisfied with how the Xperia X1 worked for mobile blogging, but I don’t think it was the unequivocal best combination. I still feel conflicted about the merits of mobile blogging in general, so I’d love to hear your thoughts and feedback. Did you like the moblogs? Should I do it again next year (I don’t think I’ll still be using the X1 by then, but you know what I mean)? What would you have done differently?

Pocketables does not accept targeted advertising, phony guest posts, paid reviews, etc. Help us keep this way with support on Patreon!
Become a patron at Patreon!

Jenn K. Lee

Jenn K. Lee is the founder of Pocketables. She loves gadgets the way most women love shoes and purses. The pieces in her tech wardrobe that go with everything are currently the Samsung Galaxy Note II, Sony Tablet P, and Nexus 7, but there are still a couple of vintage UMPCs/MIDs in the back of her closet.

More posts by Jenn | Subscribe to Jenn's posts

Avatar of Jenn K. Lee

16 thoughts on “Thoughts on mobile blogging with the Sony Ericsson Xperia X1

  • I think mobile blogs were great. They were just the right length and it was nice as they were “up to date” all the time. I hope you use the same method next year with a slightly better device.

  • I think you did a great job Jenn – amazed by the fact you did more than half of it from a mobile phone!! 79 Posts?! Are you sure you are a one-girl team?! I didn’t expect as in-depth a report as you managed… Agree with Ossi; great method – hope next year there’s an even better toy to use.

  • Did you ever mobile blog from an iPhone? I am liking it except picture quality of course!

    What about blogging on something like an u810 or UX or OQO, how different would it have been? What did you see most people blogging with, netbooks?

  • I enjoyed your coverage and appreciate the moblog efforts! I find it can be exhausting when you live blog an event over the span of a few days but you really delivered!

  • Avatar of netwiz

    well, I for one love to here news as it happens. i was following all my favorite tech blogs/news sites as the news happened, and i would like you to do it again next year. i thought you did a great job sharing a brief description of the product and then a bit of your thoughts.

  • Avatar of CharlesT

    I enjoyed your live posts as well – picture quality was totally acceptable and the short message was enough. Adding more details and/or insight in a later post (if available/warranted) is ideal. From my perspective this approach is excellent as it allowed us to live some of the excitement of discovering things in “realtime”.

    P.S. You did an AMAZING job! Many thanx.

  • Hi Jenn. You kept the quality high and added enough info to the images to make them useful. Enjoyed your coverage immensly.

    So what would be the best device? How could you improve the X1? More processing power? Better cam? How was the SC3? Did you take a laptop with you at all during the day? Would you have like to do video at all?


  • Avatar of Fixup

    I always wondered why people still want a MID while smartphones like this, iPhone and HTC Touch HD/Pro/Diamond are here. Jenn, why you still go to the MID trip? To me, it is ridiculous to carry a MID because you still have to carry a smartphone nonetheless and it cannot do much more than a smartphone can. It only makes sense to carry something like the UMID M1 and Aigo that run XP then you can do things that smartphones can’t or not so good at.

    For all WM devices, being it a ATT, Sprint or Verizon, you need to flash it with a customized ROM to get rid of all the craps the carriers have put into them. Then performance, stability and battery life will have a day and night difference.

    If you cannot flash the ROM (really easy), at least do a hard reset and press the soft reset button as soon as you see “customize in 3 seconds”.

  • Avatar of Fixup

    By “MID”, I meant things like the N810 and Mylo that do not have a phone built-in and do not run XP.

  • Avatar of MiKeN

    I thought it was all great, the pictures are what made the posts. Without them it would just be another twitter.

  • I did and I wasn’t happy: http://pocketables.com/2008/09/compromised-mob.htmlI didn’t know about the Flickr method back then, though, and the TypePad app for WinMo is equally compromised. What the X1 has over the iPhone (for my mobile blogging preferences) is the hardware keyboard and better camera. Before getting the Xperia and after accepting that a 3G Aigo MID wouldn’t arrive on time, I thought about using the UX or even my Willcom D4. The camera quality on UMPCs is just way too poor, though. Battery life can’t compare to smartphones either.Yeah, I saw a lot of netbooks and laptops set up on tables thorughout the show. I actually didn’t see anyone walking around with a handheld…

  • I think a smartphone is ideal for quick posts from events like this, but the X1 could certainly benefit from a faster system, better camera, and better browser. The SC3 performed flawlessly when I used it, but I learned that a keyboard I can’t truly touch-type on doesn’t work well for me *when speed is a priority*. It’s faster than thumb typing, sure, but if I need a flat surface to use it, I may as well use a laptop with a bigger keyboard. The Vaio P is poised to be my CES companion next year. :-)I carried my Vaio TZ with me on the first day of the show in anticipation of all the news but only used it for the Palm Pre video post. A reader emailed me about qik.com in response to one of my tweets, and it looks like it may have been a great tool for live video streaming. I did do some videos during CES (Palm Pre, Vaio P, and MID demo), but the process was slow and cumbersome. I don’t know if YouTube was slammed or what, but it took hours to get some of the videos uploaded and processed (and I was hardwired online!).

  • There will only be Atom-based MIDs/UMPCs on the MID Moves tour. :-)

  • Jenn,the pictures to me came out really good, for being posted right out of the Sony X1. You really did a good job of keeping everyone updated with all those portable gadgets. I’m also starting to use my SC3 more.

  • Avatar of John in Norway

    I’ll second what most people have said. From a readers point of view you did a fantastic job.

  • Jeen, I’m afraid you have poor experience , couse you never even touch the Nokia E90 , dont mentioned that you never owned one. E90 its a old phone nowdays. But when I’m reading your cons about xperia, I see that E90 seems to be much ,much better.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *