updated 08:53 am EDT, Tue September 11, 2012
Sony considering a Windows Mobile reprise
Sony is said to be mulling the possibility of introducing Xperia devices powered by Windows Phone 8. While Sony has offered Windows Mobile devices in the past, it opted to steer clear of Windows Phone 7 while it sought to gain a foothold in the Android space currently dominated by Samsung. It currently has an Android smartphone portfolio exceeding 20 devices, however a European Sony Mobile boss has indicated that the Japanese company is in talks with Microsoft.
"Sony's strategy is one of openness," Sony Mobile UK and Ireland MD Pierre Perron told Mobile Magazinerecently. "Microsoft is a Sony partner with the likes of our VAIO laptops and it's integrated onto our tablets," he added. "As far as Xperia smartphones go, Android remains the preferred partner, although Sony is not a single partner company. We are currently investigating with the likes of Microsoft the possibility of diversifying our product strategy."
While Windows Phone currently trails Android and iOS by a wide margin, the arrival of Windows Phone 8, which is built on the Windows NT kernel and supports multicore processors, has made it more attractive. Windows Phone 7 was widely praised for its distinctive UI, however it has struggled to gain traction in the mobile market arriving well after iOS and Android had gained a stranglehold on the smartphone space.
However, there is a possibility that smartphone users getting tired of the traditional UI paradigm offered by both Apple's iOS and Google's Android could be willing to try Windows Phone 8 devices. Samsung, HTC and Nokia have either unveiled or are soon to unveil genuinely competitive Windows Phone 8 devices - Sony may see an opportunity to stake a more substantial claim in the smartphone space, should Windows Phone 8 finally gain some momentum as a major third force.
However, one major sticking point could well be the tight Xbox Live integration Microsoft has woven into Windows Phone 8. With Sony's PlayStation franchise highly valued by the company, offering Windows Phone 8, without the ability to include their own PlayStation services as an alternative, could prove a bridge to far if Microsoft is not willing to shift on Xbox Live integration.