No doubt, it's been a big week already for Sony Ericsson. SE dropped a fistful of devices at their pre-MWC press gathering in Barcelona Sunday, including the do it all Xperia X1 smartphone. The folks from SE were kind enough to hold a virtual press conference just now (Monday morning California time) to address product plans and questions about the North American market. Here are the highlights:
- No, SE wouldn't give any pricing information on the X1 other than to say that it's a "high end" device and will be priced accordingly. Sony + "High End" usually = $$$$.
- Yes, lots of North American carriers are in a tizzy about the Xperia X1, but no, SE won't say anything about who might wind up carrying it in the US or Canada. And yes, the X1 might be sold as an unlocked device, but not really yes because SE leaves that kind of thing up to their distribution partners. So, no, there's no real news about carriers.
- Yes, SE worked with HTC on the Xperia X1, but they wouldn't disclose any details about the arrangement. It's been reported on the Web this week that HTC "built" the X1, while SE "built" the custom Xperia Panels software layer that sits atop the standard Windows Mobile interface.
- Yes, the X1 uses a version of Windows Mobile customized for finger input on a touchscreen. And yes, it uses Windows Media Player. No, it doesn't use SE's Walkman software.
- Yes, the X1 supports video conferencing.
- Yes, SE will be upping their presence in the North American market this year. While several devices announced in Barcelona this week don't support North American HSDPA bands, SE will be unveiling new "Walkman, Cyber-Shot, and other devices" with NA-friendly HSDPA in the latter part of 2008. SE's marketing folks also reminded us of the w760 Walkman phone and its triple-band HSDPA, which was unveiled at CES last month.
- No, the fact that the X1 is SE's first WIndows Mobile device does not spell - or imply - the end of SE handsets running Symbian's UIQ platform.
- Yes, the X1 has a standard 3.5mm audio jack.
- No, none of the other new SE devices have a standard 3.5mm audio jack. They all continue to use SE's proprietary fastport connector.
And while SE answered the first two questions I typed into the chat room, they totally dodged my inquiry about possible further announcements coming from their camp this week. Rumor has it that two Symbian UIQ-running SE smartphones - the "Paris" (aka P5i) and "Beibei" (Walkman smartphone) may be unleashed in conjunction with a Symbian media event on Wednesday.