updated 09:45 am EST, Wed November 12, 2008
S E Xperia X1 US Launch
Sony Ericsson today finally detailed the US release of the Xperia X1, its first full touchscreen smartphone and also its first Windows Mobile phone. Rather than tie the phone to AT&T, the cellphone maker instead says the X1 will sell through its Sony Style website as an unlocked device for $800. The move lets users pick AT&T to gain full access to the phone's HSPA-based 3G or T-Mobile if they prefer the carrier and are willing to limit their data to EDGE. It also allows unrestricted apps and the ability to use SIM cards from foreign carriers.
The QWERTY slider is Sony Ericsson's flagship and carries a 3.2-megapixel camera, GPS and Wi-Fi in addition to its 3G. The three-inch display is also Sony Ericsson's sharpest at 800x480 and plays home to non-standard software that the company hopes will surmount Windows Mobile's historical weaknesses: a new panel interface lets users access content or full-fledged software by tapping with fingers instead of resorting to the more complicated and stylus-driven Microsoft interface. It also replaces the legacy Internet Explorer browser with Opera 9.5 for full HTML rendering.
Pre-orders for the Xperia X1 start tomorrow through Sony Style and will see both Sony stores and resellers like Best Buy carrying the phone on November 28th, this year's Black Friday. No indications have been given that the phone will be offered through a US carrier later.
The X1 is considered crucial for Sony Ericsson, which has seen declining phone sales affected partly by the company's historical weakness in smartphones. It has offered few smartphones and has relied on the increasingly marginal UIQ operating system while the iPhone 3G, BlackBerries, and pure Symbian S60 phones from Nokia have eroded Sony Ericsson's influence on the high end.