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Sony Ericsson finally let us get our hands on its Xperia X1 Windows Mobile 6.1 device. This smartphone is in serious beta form right now. The software panels on the demo unit just barely worked and the hardware itself was seriously cagey. Still, we were able to get some impressions about the device.

On the front is a generous touch screen, with practically microscopic buttons below it for accessing some of the phone's features. These buttons are all triangular in shape and attempt to be making a fashion statement of some sort. Whatever that statement is, it was lost on us, as we were frustrated by the usability of the keys.

The interior QWERTY keypad was even worse. The keys barely have any travel or feedback, and using them was difficult at best. They just don't feel good.

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Back to the software panels. So the phone will support 9 panels on one screen, and can load up to 18 in total on three separate screens. From all appearances, these panels can be completely customize to server as shortcuts to your favorite folders, applications or actions.

Many of the panels we saw on the demo unit were web site favorites and other web-based apps. Of course, pictures speak louder than words.

Take a look for yourself on just how they work. Keep in mind that Sony Ericsson has nearly 6 months to finalize the build and functionality of this device.

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