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Sony Ericsson remote needs Android version most of its phones don't have

Sony Ericsson has dreamt up a remote control that connects to particular mobile phones through the power of Bluetooth, but you'll need Android 2.0 to use it.

Sony Ericsson has dreamt up a cool little touchscreen remote control you can use to control some of the main features of your Android phone, without taking it out of your pocket. Unfortunately, it only works with Android 2.0 and later, which most of its phones don't yet have.

The LiveView accessory is square and similar in size to an iPod nano 6G, and through the magic of Bluetooth allows you to wirelessly connect to a compatible Android mobile. Once it's connected, you can read messages, see incoming calls and check your Facebook and Twitter.

If you're connecting to a Sony Ericsson device, LiveView also allows you to control music, where you can select tracks and control volume. It can also act as a calendar. LiveView is compatible with the Sony Ericsson Xperia X10, X10 Mini and X10 Mini Pro. You can also use it on the Samsung Galaxy S and HTC Desire, although you won't have all the functionality.

LiveView follows Apple's iPod nano watches, with Sony Ericsson keen for people to attach it to things like watch straps and keychains with the clip and wristband provided. You charge LiveView with microUSB, and it will be available in bundled packs, including a 'fitness' package with a sports app and carry case included.

It's expected before the end of the year, but probably not until Android 2.1 is released for the Xperia devices, as LiveView only works with Android 2.0 and above. The update isn't expected until after October, and LiveView will be useless without it. Its price hasn't yet been announced.

Its ability to use LiveView as a timepiece reminds us of Sony Ericsson's mobile Bluetooth watches. These function in a very similar way, connecting to your phone with Bluetooth. These haven't exactly sold like gangbusters, and some haven't been compatible with the Xperia X10 due to the lack of Android 2.1. Another reason for the firm to get a move on.

What do you reckon? Is it a useful tool, or simply a fashion statement? Do dislike taking your phone out of your pocket that much?