Microsoft and Sony Ericsson shout “Enough is enough!”
For much of the past eight months, the world’s mobile attention has focused on Apple’s iPhone, Google’s Android open-source mobile operating system, Blackberry’s continued success, and Nokia claiming 40 percent of the world’s cell phone market.
Microsoft and Sony Ericsson haven’t been left out, per se, but they certainly are not gaining much attention. In fact, the Windows Mobile OS has been much maligned lately, especially as the iPhone has taken over the No. 2 spot behind Blackberry in the sale of smart phones in the U.S.
Today at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Microsoft and Sony Ericsson announced — somewhat surprisingly — they are teaming up to put Windows Mobile on a new premium phone, the XPERIA X1.
With the Sony Ericsson deal, Microsoft now has Windows Mobile on phones manufactured by three of the top four mobile players — No. 2 Samsung, No. 3 (and falling) Motorola, and No. 4 Sony Ericsson. No. 1 Nokia remains committed to the Symbian OS, although the Finnish company is rumored to be in talks with Microsoft to create Windows Mobile devices.
The EXPERIA X1, available in the second half of 2008, is a “premium experience of energized communication”, whatever that means. The handset is minimalist sexy. It features a 3-inch VGA display, full QWERTY keyboard, in a metal-finish “arc-slider” design. The EXPERIA X1 also records and plays back VGA, 30 frames-per-second video, has a 3.2 megapixel camera, has a touch screen interface in addition to the keyboard, and has handwriting recognition.
No price for the phone was announced.
Judging from the images and video on the Xperia Website, Sony Ericsson is going to seriously challenge Apple in the smart phone looks department, raising the ante for all the players in what’s going to be an interesting year in wireless. What remains to be seen, however, is how well Windows Mobile evolves in light of the success of Apple’s scaled-down OS X and Nokia’s Symbian interfaces.
“It is very important for us as a growing business to extend the Sony Ericsson brand to new users,”said Steve Walker, director of portfolio planning at Sony Ericsson (CNNMoney). “These new phones are helping us achieve that.”