Recently the price for Sony Ericsson’s LiveView Phone Remote has just been plummeting. First of all there were reports of Play selling them for £19.99; they sold out pretty fast and the price creeped back up a bit but I found Amazon UK also selling them for the same price so I thought I’d snap one up. Now it seems that after bundling them with the Xperia Active (which seems daft as unlike the Active the LiveView isn’t hardy to rough conditions) Sony Ericsson themselves have started selling the diminutive devices at, what to me, seems like a clearance price of £25.
It looks like they’re clearing stock and I think it could indicate a new version is imminent. As I reported before the recently released MotoACTV is a much more accomplished device; perhaps Sony Ericsson are refining the device and version two will soon be with us!
So as I’ve got one now lets recap on some positives about the device:
- It’s a cool little device which provides quick access to phone data.
- You can wear it as a watch or with the clip.
- It’s expandable by downloading apps and plugins from the Android Market.
- Battery life is good and lasts a couple of days without charging.
The main reason I decided to get one is because I use My Tracks to record runs along with my Polar heart rate monitor. I found that with the microtracks plugin I could see my Heart Rate, Distance and Pace at a glance and it’s really super. Also my regular wrist watch(es) are in need of repair so I needed a temporary watch and it didn’t seem too much to spend.
Now I’ve used it for a day here are the problems I’ve come across:
- When in the wrist strap you can’t access the USB socket to charge it, you have to take it out of the strap (which is quite difficult and actually seems like you’re going to break it to pop it out).
- It isn’t waterproof!!! This I just don’t understand; I’m not expecting to be able to go underwater with it but from what I’ve read it’s barely splash proof. I run in any weather and in the UK you get wet (a lot) so I expect that it will probably break when I’m out in the rain soon….
- There simply aren’t many apps or plugins; for a device that’s been out for quite a while now there are only a handful of apps, I’ve already downloaded all that I’m interested in. With the latest software update it has support for up to 30 plugins but I’ve got six installed and am at a loss to satisfy my need to download stuff for my new toy, for example there’s only one game I can find which looks rubbish……
- It seems to have trouble disconnecting and reconnecting; Now this was supposed to be addressed in the software update but I’m experiencing multiple disconnects, it’s causing me major headaches..
It’s worth mentioning that I’m using this with my X10 Mini Pro and running MiniCM Pro V21. My main problem is that when it disconnects and tries to reconnect I get a pairing request on the phone so have to accept it for it to work, I believe this is a problem with MiniCM Pro as have read other peoples issues with bluetooth in XDA thread and there doesn’t seem to be the option to allow connections automatically…. I’m going to have to try different firmware to see if this problem is specific to MiniCM Pro V21.
Speculation on a LiveView v2
You can’t help but be impressed with the MotoACTV, unlike the LiveView it functions as a stand alone device and actually runs android. It looks like they’ve looked at the GPS watches out there like the Garmin and have basically produced something competitive at a lower price. I’m impressed with the clever HRM headphones and music integration but don’t run to music as I set my pace from my footwork and heart rate which I can’t do to music, it isn’t clear if other HRMs will be able to connect but it does support both Bluetooth and ANT+.
I’m hoping that new versions of LiveView will continue to be remote displays; this can keep the cost right down and you’re not duplicating hardware. If SE can make the device more rugged and at least reposition the wrist strap pins to allow for charging without pulling it apart they’d be onto a winner. It could really do with more software so more apps that support it would be great. I guess all that’s left is reliable software, the flaky connection is a real spoiler; perhaps it could connect via ANT+ too; maybe there’s a way of integrating a HRM into the wrist strap.
Hopefully SE will look at the Xperia Active and compare it with MotoACTV and realise that they don’t need to change much; a refined device would nail it rather than a total rethink…