I have a Sony Xperia U with Android 2.3.7 Gingerbread. I don't know exactly if the SMS composer is Android's or belongs to Sony's launcher, so I don't know if the question applies to all Gingerbread users or only Sony's.
I'd like to see the character count when typing SMSs, and I can't see that setting available. Do you know if it's possible to enable it or I need to replace the texting application? Also, is it possible to do it without rooting or flashing?