Sony Ericsson dumping Windows Mobile for Android-powered Xperia?

Sadly, my T-Mobile G1 – the so-called Google phone powered by the Android OS — has to be returned tomorrow (it was only a one week loan) but at least we know that there’s plenty more to come.

The Open Handset Alliance (OHA), the industry consortium setup to oversee and lend support to the Google-led Android mobile operating system, has added 14 new members. The most notable of which are Sony Ericsson, who have reportedly confirmed that a new high end device powered by Android will be released next year, alongside mobile carrier Vodafone, as well as Garmin, who’ll likely utilize Android in a new GPS-based navigational device rather than a cell phone.

Sony Ericsson join the original thirty strong lineup, which also includes other handset makers HTC, LG Electronics, Motorola and Samsung, but not Apple, RIM, Palm or Nokia who have all invested heavily in their own competing mobile operating systems.

Sony Ericsson Xperia 2 to ditch Windows Mobile for Android?

When Sony Ericsson announced its new flagship Xperia 1, the first handset from the company to use Microsoft’s Windows Mobile Operating System, we described the device as “minimalist sexy” and a serious challenge to Apple in the smart phone looks department. That was largely matched by the hardware specs, which includes a 3-inch VGA touch screen and full QWERTY keyboard in a metal-finish “arc-slider” design. However, while most reviews have heaped praise on the Xperia’s industrial design (despite repeated requests, we’ve yet to get our hands on the device), as we feared, the phone is ultimately let down by poor software that, like HTC’s attempts, tries to mask the aging Windows Mobile operating system.

Enter Android.

More from the OHA press release:

“Sony Ericsson is excited to announce its membership of the Open Handset Alliance and confirm its intention to develop a handset based on the Android platform… we believe the Open Handset Alliance offers an exciting opportunity for a new and unique user experience only Sony Ericsson can deliver” – Rikko Sakaguchi, CVP and head of Creation and Development, Sony Ericsson.

See also: Hands-on: G1’s Android web browser rocks [video demo]

Note the “new and unique user experience”. Perhaps, something along the lines of the Xperia 1′s panel UI, which also includes its own developer kit.

Furthermore, Phandroid reports on a IDG Sweden article in which Sony Ericsson’s Garfield Brusewitz was quoted as saying: “We expect initially to focus on products in the higher segment, but later on we will also supplement with products for the broad mass market.”

So, a high end device with a unique user experience running on the Google-led mobile OS. Sounds to me like the Xperia 2 will dump Windows Mobile for Android. And good riddance too :-)

Image credit: Engadget

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last100 is edited by Steve O'Hear. Aside from founding last100, Steve is co-founder and CEO of Beepl and a freelance journalist who has written for numerous publications, including TechCrunch, The Guardian, ZDNet, ReadWriteWeb and Macworld, and also wrote and directed the Silicon Valley documentary, In Search of the Valley. See his full profile and disclosure of his industry affiliations.

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