Hot on the heels of vehemently denying any delays whatsoever to the forthcoming launch of the flagship Xperia X1 smartphone, Sony Ericsson has released a Software Development Kit for X1 panels. The SDK allows developers to "create a host of unique multi-media entertainment and content for the Xperia™ X1... [which] brings a totally new experience to mobile phone users by introducing nine easy-to-use, interactive panels which sit on the touch screen interface of the phone," in the words of the official SE press release.
The X1, which is still on track for a late 2008 release, is a Windows Mobile smartphone that continues the recent trend of layering a custom UI atop the standard WinMo install. In X1's case, that UI is based around the aforementioned panels - widget-like mini programs accessible directly from the device's home screen. X1 will feature a 3" WVGA (800 x 480) touchsreen designed for finger navigation, and Sony Ericsson has been hyping the combination of panels and the touch screen as the X1's means to deliver a powerful but easy-to-use consumer experience.
While I was impressed with X1's hardware when I caught a few up close glimpses of it at CTIA in April, the phone has seldom been seen in anything approaching a fully functional state. Display units on hand in SE's booth at the recent IFA trade show would not run the Windows Mobile 6.1 OS at all, according to a report from Engadget. Along with a few other reports coming out of IFA, this sparked rumors that the phone would be delayed until early 2009, though Sony Ericsson representatives quickly countered by saying X1 is still on track to be released before year's end.