No one will be surprised to know that a huge, huge number of gadgets come through our office (and our test labs) every month. At the moment, we're got two really nice Android phones from Sony Ericsson's new Xperia range, the Ray and the Active.
No doubt the appeal of the Ray, on the left, is immediately apparent - it's sleek, shiny and it definitely has the better specs of the two. But what's interesting about the Active is its ruggedness and what you get for the $400 pricetag. We haven't yet tested it thoroughly (we're doing it for our December-January ish), but in terms of rugged gear, the Active has a higher certification than the Motorola Defy, released earlier this year. It can be kept up to 1 metre under fresh water for 30 minutes, and even better, when it's wet the touchscreen works just as well as it does dry. I've tried it out and I've gotta say, it's pretty clever.
It's the fact that it's a niche product that makes it interesting, to me. Of course, it's all regular Android 2.3 with Sony Ericsson's four-corner skin, but the open software allows for manufacturers to go crazy with the hardware and do some interesting things that you can't do with other operating systems. I'm looking forward to getting more in-depth with the device, because so far it looks like a winner.