Sony Ericsson Inches Closer To Android Phone

The company will likely wait until the next firmware update of Android hits in order to produce smartphones with strong multimedia capabilities.
Ever since Sony Ericsson joined the Open Handset Alliance, Android fans have been wondering when the company would release a smartphone with the Google-backed operating system. An executive gave some more details Friday indicating fans may not have to wait too much longer.

Peter Ang, VP of marketing for Sony Ericsson, told Digitimes the company is prepping for a launch with Android 2.0, which is the next version of the OS and has stronger multimedia capabilities. Commercial users of the Linux-based operating system can currently only get the 1.5 version, which adds things like video recording, a YouTube uploader, and stereo Bluetooth.

For Sony Ericsson, the decision to wait for a stronger multimedia OS is in line with its overall strategy for mobile phones. The company is known for its well-designed Walkman line of phones, and it's placing a stronger emphasis on mobile movies and TV shows. While Android is a capable multimedia player, it lags far behind rivals like the iPhone, Windows Mobile, Symbian, and BlackBerry.

Google and Sony Ericsson did not respond to press inquiries on when Android 2.0 would be available, but the 1.5 version came about five months after the original firmware. Sony Ericsson has said it's not in a rush to release an Android device, as it wants to release a handset with a unique user interface and user experience.

"It does require a lot of evaluation, as well as a lot of testing, a lot of acceptance from a consumer viewpoint, and there is still some time to go," CEO Hideki Komiyama said about the Linux-based OS. "Looking ahead, I think that we see this as one of the important operating systems, there is no doubt."

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