After Sony bought out the mobile portion of its longtime Sony-Ericsson partnership, the company decided to join the smartphone war in earnest. If we don't count the niche Xperia Play, Sony is dreadfully late to the party, especially for a company that seeks to make as many of the screens a human being looks at the through the day as humanly possible.
While some aspects of the phone seem to express disdain for the need to remain au courant (releasing the handset with Android 2.3 Gingerbread rather than the latest Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, for instance), this is a solid entry at a mid-level $99 price point. Sony had prided itself in the past on occupying the high-end range of every product segment. But being new as it is to this space, it seems like it was a smarter choice for Sony to get its feet wet instead of trying to leap ahead to compete with the big names like Apple, Samsung, and HTC.
The XP has a curved, brushed metal back with angled sides. A trapdoor on the left side hides a microUSB port and microSD slot, and a small section of the back about the camera slides off for access to the SIM. Since it's a Gingerbread phone, at least for now, there are four soft keys along the bottom of the screen: menu, home, back and search, from left to right. The icons are screened on underneath the glass, and small dash-shaped LEDs illuminate underneath them when they're activated. The hardware buttons (sleep, volume rocker, and camera) are all on the right-hand side.