Among the plethora of Android-powered devices out and about at Google I/O today are the recently-announced Sony Ericsson Xperia Mini and Mini Pro, successors to the X10 Mini and Mini Pro launched last year. As the names imply, diminutive stature is the big selling point with these guys -- and the new ones appear to be almost identical in size to the phones they're replacing. Can "cute" and "powerful" coexist?

As with the X10 Minis, the Xperia Minis use heavily-customized builds of Android -- Gingerbread, in this case -- and while I'm generally opposed to ultra-deep skinning, I think manufacturers have a little more wiggle room when they need to make the UI work effectively on screens this small. They felt snappy throughout, which is an encouraging sign considering that they've still got months before release and a testament to the fact that a 1GHz single-core Snapdragon will probably suit the target market just fine.

We don't want to draw too many conclusions from a pair of tethered prototypes, but let's put it this way: if you liked the X10 Minis, I suspect you'll love the new ones. They're tweaked in all the right ways with a faster processor, better camera, far better display (it's so vibrant that it looks AMOLED to me, in fact), refined ID, and -- in the case of the Pro -- a keyboard that seems just as good as the first model's. I'm definitely looking forward to getting my hands on retail versions later this year.