updated 02:50 pm EDT, Wed September 10, 2008
S E XPERIA X1 on Sept 30
(Updated with carrier info) Sony Ericsson today countered rumors of software-related delays for the XPERIA X1 by announcing a launch date for the device in some countries. The company's first full touchscreen and first Windows Mobile phone will be available on September 30th in Germany, the UK, and the company's Swedish home. Phones will also be ready in most of Europe, South Africa, and some countries in Latin America and the Middle East later in the fall.
North American launches haven't been specified but should be announced in "coming months," Sony Ericsson says. Support is most likely for AT&T and Rogers.
The introduction sets up Sony Ericsson's first direct competition between itself and rivals such as the iPhone 3G or LG Viewty. The Swedish and Japanese partnership has focused heavily on music with its Walkman phones but has struggled to compete as high-end and mid-range smartphones have steadily eroded Sony Ericsson's market share and damaged its revenue in recent months.
In addition to bringing unique finger-based "panel" interface meant to simplify Windows Mobile, the X1 will also be one of the few phones to support full HSUPA upload speeds over 3G in addition to video calls, GPS and Wi-Fi. The company further promises an "arc" slider that reveals a full QWERTY keyboard but which puts the three-inch LCD at a comfortable viewing angle.
Update: a new report confirms that O2 Germany as well as Vodafone in Germany and the UK will be the first to carry the X1; none of the carriers currently offer the iPhone.