Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Sony Ericsson Unleashes Windows Mobile Smartphone iPhone Competitor

Last night in Barcelona, Sony Ericsson kicked off Mobile World Congress with a bang. In the mix of new hardware is a new touchscreen Windows Mobile-powered smartphone for the North American market. It clearly looks to replicate the success of the iPhone, but for the business user.

Sony pulled out all the stops. Seven brand-spanking new phones saw their debut last night at the SE press conference.

The most important of which is the Xperia X1. This device is a Windows Mobile smartphone that uses a unique touch screen overlay to interact with the phone. It uses 100 adjustable panels that can be slid around and shifted here and there. Each panel corresponds to a different application. It is fairly fast and intuitive to use, but doesn't quite live up to the iPhone experience.

What I find interesting is that this is yet another case where a manufacturer has innovated on top of the Windows Mobile platform to make it less painful to use. This overlay is proof, yet again, that the Windows Mobile experience is not all it should be.

One of the other stunning things about the X1 is that it is one of the first quad-band HSDPA 3G smartphones. It has four 3G radios to permit the ultimate in roaming ability. It covers the 850/1700/1900/2100 MHz bands, meaning it will work with bothAT&T (NYSE: T) and T-Mobile's forthcoming 3G networks.

This phone is a slam dunk for the North American market. Does this represent a strategic shift in how Sony Ericsson is targeting the U.S.

We can only hope.

The other six phones include a brand new Walkman phone, the W980, that has TONS of music features. There are also two Symbian-based touchscreen organizer phones that were innovative and fun to use.

There were also two new Cyber-Shot phones, bringing in high megapixel cameras and features such as face recognition and image stabilization.

Rounding out the bottom end of the spectrum was the new Z770 clamshell phone that has 3G and enhanced Web connectivity.

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