Although Sony Ericsson France CEO Pierre Perron says that his company is still discussing the potential for an XPERIA-branded Windows Phone 7 device with Microsoft, it seems that such a move may be unlikely. Given the fact that Microsoft imposes restrictions on the OS, and would not allow manufacturers like Sony Ericsson nor carriers to tweak or alter its Live Tiles user interface, known as the Metro UI, on Windows Phone 7 devices, Sony Ericsson fears that such a move will make their phones commodities that compete on price rather than on a differentiated user experience.
While Microsoft allows manufacturers to add in a Live Tile to enhance the Windows Phone 7 experience and offer differentiation that way, the company does not allow manufacturers to replace the Live Tile UI with their own, unlike Android, and that may present itself as a problem for Sony Ericsson to adopt Windows Phone 7. Perron tells Telecom Paper, “With Windows 7 we run the risk of standardising our smartphones. We would be obliged to compete only on design on price, which we want to avoid.”
The company had created a pretty compelling user interface with its Android devices. With the XPERIA X10, the company’s fluid UI and customized apps have been praised by many reviewers. It seems that Sony Ericsson does not want to lose that ability to create differentiated products in the marketplace, and a Windows Phone 7-powered XPERIA handset may be unlikely until Microsoft relaxes its restrictions on customizations.
Conversely, on the other perspective, Microsoft argues that a standardized UI will make it not only easier to deliver timely OS updates to users, but also creates a better overall user experience as users will recognize the OS no matter what device they’re on.
Regarding tablets, Perron says that Sony Ericsson has no tablet plans right now.