First Looks: Sony Ericsson LiveView
An Accessory Fit for a Spy
Bluetooth accessories like the Sony Ericsson LiveView complement a primary device; in this case, it gives you remote control of your Android device, leaving it sitting snugly in your pockets. With its 1.3-inch OLED display, the LiveView resembles the face of a digital watch and it can even be mounted onto an elastic band and strapped to your wrist.
Navigating through the menu on the LiveView is done via two physical buttons at the top corners. The power button is obvious through its marking, while the other wasn't too obvious as the pairing and action button. Controlling the LiveView can be quite iffy, given the petite nature of its screen. The inaccessibility of these buttons and the overly sensitive touch controls didn't help matters.
Connecting the LiveView to your Android phone requires the LiveView App, which is downloadable from Google Android Market. Though it is a Sony Ericsson accessory, the LiveView supports Android devices from Samsung, HTC and Motorola. While we managed to connect a HTC Desire to the LiveView, the connection was spotty, even after an update was performed on the accessory through its microUSB port.
The LiveView App is also used to customize the tiles that are displayed on the LiveView. In doing so, you can enable the LiveView to access messages, emails, or RSS feeds from the paired phone. Further customization can be done through third party plugins, which may allow access to specific apps. The LiveView even gets the current time from your Android device, so unpairing or moving it out of range leaves it in a state of standby with no functional features.
The upside of this accessory came from its notification and music controller. The former gives you an immediate notice of any incoming calls or messages, which we often miss with the phone in our pocket. Remotely controlling your music player is also very useful, allowing us to pause, skip or play tracks without digging through our pockets for the phone. You'll have to keep the LiveView charged daily, as we soon realized when we put it through the test.
As an accessory for your Android device, the LiveView should work, albeit with some hiccups. Sold as part of the Sony Ericsson Fitness Experience Pack, you'll get the LiveView accessory, a wrist strap, and an armband phone holder. Features such as phone notifications and a music player remote control are nifty, but considering how we had a difficult time using the accessory (and its dodgy connection), the S$118 spent on this accessory could be put to better use.