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Sony iPhone rival to hit US for $800 unlocked

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.

by MacNN Staff



  1. njfuzzy

    Joined: Dec 1969


    own-store only

    Sony makes a lot of really strange (dumb) decisions to try to achieve synergy between their different branches. Making this exclusive to Sony Style stores either means Sony is willing to get lower sales to make sure most of them are direct, or else AT&T wouldn't take the phone on Sony's terms.

  1. Guest

    Joined: Dec 1969


    it is also telling

    it is also telling that they only show their logo for a screenshot and not any actual apps. Either they don't have anything running on it, or it looks like c***. I guess since they are using MS, that last goes without saying.

  1. Dalhectar

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Seen this phone?

    Sony put a custom UI on top of the phone. The Panels view is unique to every other phone on the market, even in the WinMo community. It's also the highest resolution screen available in the US. Double the amount of pixels vs the iPhone 3G. A screen that high combined with Opera would give you a solid web experience. Also that's the best keyboard I've ever seen on a phone. Not to mention how the screen hinge curves back for easy viewing while typing. On paper it's the best smartphone on the market.

    $800 unlocked though is insane. Does the hardware justify 4x the iPhone price? I say no.

    Sales wise this phone won't touch either the iPhone or even the Blackberry Storm...

  1. WiseWeasel

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Too bad about the OS

    Too bad they didn't go with a Unix OS, like Android or LiMo, to inspire a bit of geek lust and word-of-mouth excitement. WinMo is like an anchor around this phone's ankles.

  1. Guest

    Joined: Dec 1969


    No go on the OS ...

    WinMo == no go. Regardless of how nice the hardware is, that OS makes it a non-starter. Then again, Sony is squarely in bed with MS, so this isn't a huge surprise. If they'd have gone with Android, this might at least be interesting to me. For now, this will only appeal to MS employees and fanboys.

  1. bauhaus

    Joined: Dec 1969


    No SE love for MS

    SE is definitely NOT in bed with MS. This is their FIRST WinMo phone and they've already stated it may be their last. All their other smartphones are Symbian and they have indicated that the next Xperia phone might be Android or a future version of Symbian. This was/is a bit of a trial run using WinMo for the company

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