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Sony went big at IFA 2012 yesterday by unveiling a 20" Windows 8 table-top PC, which (when laid on a flat surface) looks something like a battle overview screen from Star Wars. The device is set to sport an Intel i7, i5 or i3 processor, accompanied by a maximum of 8GB RAM, 750GB or 1TB HDD, USB 3.0, SD card slot, HD webcam and Intel HD 4000 graphics. Powering Windows 8, the Sony VAIO Tab 20 will definitely turn heads.

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In case you were under a rock today, both Android Central and Windows Phone Central had a busy afternoon covering all the IFA news coming out of Germany.

To cover the big Samsung (and Sony) announcements including the ATIV S, we gathered AC’s Phil Nickinson and myself along with Alex Dobie and Richard Device (who were on location) for a roundup.

So tune in or watch the HD video for the podcast after the break, which clocks in at a brisk 34 minutes.

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Hold onto your seats, this is a big one. Sony has unveiled a 20" table-top Windows 8 PC today at IFA Berlin, titled VAIO Tap 20. The battery-powered PC features a stand allowing the user to adjust the device to suit immediate needs, whether it be tablet photo viewing (on the lap as it weighs in at a sturdy 11 pounds) or desktop-style web browsing. It's a Windows 8 PC that's surely going to turn some heads, so what's included in the package?

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While Microsoft is busy readying the company's Surface tablets, it looks like others are working on tablets of their own.  We've heard of Lenovo working on tablets and even some speculation that Nokia is working on one as well.  Today we can add Sony and Samsung to the list.

Samsung is prepping what is rumored to be a 10" (or larger?) tablet with Windows 8 that will be revealed at the IFA 2012 (consumer electronics convention) that will be held in Berlin. The Samsung tablet will have a dockable keyboard much like you have with the ASUS Transformer tablets. We had heard rumors earlier of a Samsung tablet but this is the first we've seen of a dockable keyboard.  IFA runs from August 31st to September 5th so we won't have long to wait for more specs on the Samsung tablet.  We'll have Mobile Nations field agents at IFA and try to run down the low down on these and other tablets.

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Crackle, a digital network and studio, has released an official app for Windows Phone. The service offers commercially supported streaming of video content in Flash format. Owned by Sony Pictures, its primary collection is Sony's library of films and television shows. Crackle (crackle.com) provides its content through a web syndication network, which includes YouTube, Huhu, AOL, MySpace, and mobile service providers.

Without requiring to signup and register an account, Crackle enables Windows Phone owners to enjoy content for free from its expansive collection. According to the company, twenty new movies and television episodes are added monthly. Genres include the likes of action, comedy, crime, horror, thriller, sci-fi, and anime. There's bound to be a title for everyone.

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Images of a Sony Android tablet have been leaked on German news website Mobiflip. According to the slides, if they're anything to go by, the Sony tablet looks incredibly familiar, almost as if we've seen such a design previously. The Microsoft Surface range of Windows 8 tablets were unveiled earlier this year and sport the same look with a keyboard built into the cover. This Sony tablet, branded as "Xperia Sony Tablet", will sport a number of improvements over the current Sony Tablet S.

There is one noticeable difference between the cover seen on the Surface tablets and on this possible Sony product. The cover -- while sporting a similar keyboard -- appears to wrap around the device, as opposed to clipping on the side. Also, Sony's cover will fold back to form a kickstand, eliminating the requirement for an extra accessory. Think a Microsoft-Apple hybrid.

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We're almost at the point where we're going to start leaving flowers at the grave of the poor Sony Ericsson (now Sony Mobile) Jolie Windows Phone, which has had prototypes circulating throughout the web for a good number of months now. We last looked at the black version of "Jolie" when a hands-on video was published on YouTube.

Back to the white / silver version, and an owner of said Windows Phone has sent in some more photos to Windows Phone Italy. Not only does the slide-out keyboard look inviting, the overall look and design of the device itself is unique, compared to the Windows Phones we had when the platform launched almost two years ago.

It's a shame that such a stunning 2010-esque Windows Phone simply never came to be. But the tractor beams installed on the Android mothership appeared to be too advanced for Microsoft to best (and too expensive to acquire), which led to Sony ditching Windows Phone for the green droid. Check out some more shots after the break.

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A new video of the Sony Ericsson "Julie" (branded "Jolie" in the video) Windows Phone has been published to the Internet. Unfortunately, the company, now Sony Mobile, has continuously stated that they have no immediate plans for Windows Phone. Which is a shame as the handset itself doesn't look half-bad. Slap Windows Phone "Apollo" 8 on there and you could have a winning next-gen slider.

It's interesting to note that this version gives us the impression there's more than one variant of "Julie", as it's an all-black design unlike the earlier prototype we saw pictured. With "Apollo" itself, the next major Windows Phone upgrade, expected to be released later this year, we could see support from Sony Mobile should the platform maintain this steady increase with regards to market share and positive feedback from carriers.

Source: YouTube; thanks, Daniel, for the heads up!

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Whether or not Sony Mobile Communications (previously Sony-Ericsson) will commit to a Windows Phone has been a back and forth for some time now. They dipped their toe into the ecosystem back on 2010 with the "Julie" prototype which was then canceled and since then, have been open but not committed to the platform.

A recent rumor suggested that they would make a device but not till late 2012 i.e. when Windows Phone 8 "Apollo" hits--a reasonable decision in our mind. However, Phone Arena, in a meeting with Sony Mobile Communications during Mobile World Congress, managed to get a little more info from the company and it doesn't sound too positive on the prospects.

While Sony are still "open" to the idea evidently they're not too keen on it either. If you wonder "why not" Sony's answer is "Because no one really cares about WP".

Harsh words from a company struggling to turn a profit in 2011 and 2012 (they're down 20% in shipments from a year ago and lost 247m Euros, according to the BBC). While they will still push forward with Android, the prospects for a Windows Phone from them still seems slim, at least for the near future.

Of course in a mobile world dominated by Samsung, HTC, Nokia and Apple, one has to ask: Does anyone care about Sony anymore?

Source: Phone Arena; via PocketNow (Image via Phones4U)

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Take this with a heaping cup of salt, but Tweakers.net is reporting from multiple sources that Sony is planning on joining the Windows Phone camp late in 2012.

Of course there are hurdles in the way such as Sony and that whole Playstation thing, but Sony is like any other massive corporation and its departments operate independently of each other, so we wouldn't actually cite that as a reason not to. Heck, we know that back in 2010 Sony-Ericcson seemed just fine with the whole notion even going so far as to make a few prototypes for early development. Obviously if SE had no problem with the Xbox system we don't see why Sony (sans Ericsson) would either.

Still, there's no hard evidence here for this just past experience so we'll just have to keep an ear out. Should Sony though decide to make some Windows Phones, especially with waiting for WP8 that could be a very good thing for customers.

Source: Tweakers.net;Sony render by Brian (Follow Brian here on Twitter and see his work with the LG Fantasy and Nokia 900.) Thanks, Jentse H., for the heads up!

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Seems like people want Sony to make a Windows Phone even if they don't seem keen on the idea. Take these latest images being reported tonight at XDA Developers (main site) which purport to show a device that looks like an Xperia Arc S running Windows Phone 7.

Although we'll say "anything is possible" and clearly Sony was working on Windows Phone back in 2010 (e.g. "Julie" prototype), we're doubtful that this is legit. Reasons? Well obviously it is missing the three keys near the bottom: Back, Windows and Search which have been on every single Windows Phone since day one and are a hardware requirement. Sure, that "arc" near the bottom could double as those (they're buttons on Android) but we find it odd that Sony would get rid of such a defining feature, let alone modify it to such a degree by removing those icons.

Going further, we don't see evidence for a side camera button. Now in fairness, these aren't the best shots and perhaps the button is there and just really flush, but it's one more thing we see that makes us question the validity of these images.

So while we really want to see Sony enter the Windows Phone game, we're calling this one fake. Plus we'd hate to think that Sony would, pardon the pun, phone it in this badly with their first Windows Phone i.e. just recycle an Android device. But hey, we'll see what happens at Mobile World Congress in a few weeks.

Source: XDA Developers

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A few days ago we saw some new images of a Sony Ericsson Windows Phone prototype. At the time, it looked to be a device code-named "Julie", a 4" QWERTY slider that was believed to have been canceled in 2010 after SE pulled out from Windows Phone development.

NokiaWP commented that this newly imaged prototype was running Mango though we could not verify that at the time. If it were Mango or later, it could very well signify a new attempt at Sony to embrace Windows Phone.  Looking at these new images, we are confident in saying that this is the old prototype and it is not Mango. Evidence comes from the Windows Phone boot screen, which is clearly the pre-Mango era logo as well as the old Xbox LIVE and Internet Explore tiles on the Start screen.

In other words, while this would certainly be a killer device to add to our collection, we do not believe that these images reveal any new strategy by Sony to re-enter the Windows Phone market. Perhaps they still do have plans either now or in the future, but this device is clearly a 2010-era relic.

Interesting though for what might have been, eh?

Source: NokiaWP; Thanks, Juddy, for the tip

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We've seen an image or two of the old Sony Ericsson prototype Windows Phone that was canceled before. The device, code-named 'Julie',  was a qwerty-slider and looked quite tantalizing at the time. Since then, SE has jumped on the Android bandwagon while leaving the door open for Windows Phone. We thought for a moment that SE was teasing us with a new Windows Phone for CES, but alas it was more Android.

Now, two new images have leaked of a Sony Ericsson Windows Phone device. Clearly a prototype not much is known about this phone but we're taking a guess that it is just the same qwerty-slider that we've seen previously. If you look closely at the top photo, the thickness of the device and "break" midway suggests that this is a slider.

What does this all mean? Unfortunately, we don't have any evidence that SE (or just Sony going forward very soon) has any plans for a Windows Phone. But Mobile World Congress is coming up at the end of February, so who knows maybe Sony will have something to present.

The site NokiaWP, who received the photos, claim that this is running Windows Phone 7.5 "Mango" which would definitely indicate active development. However, we cannot verify either claim at the moment.

Stay tuned..

Source: NokiaWP; Thanks, Juddy, for the tip!

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Look, we're not going to beat around the bush here, this post is total wild rumor-mongering, but SE asked us to guess so we are. Sony Ericsson (Netherlands) has put up a Tweet teasing a big announcement next week, presumably at CES:

"We're getting ready for some very interesting news next week...what do you think it could be?"

Normally we'd pass this off as "just another Android announcement" and it could very well be. However and perhaps it is just coincidence but we seem to have caught a theme of tiles throughout the above picture which was posted in conjunction with the aforementioned statement.

Could this mean that SE is finally on board with Windows Phone? If you recall, SE was announced as a key-launch partner for Windows Phone back in early 2010 and even had a working prototype (see above) but it was canceled at the last minute with the company turning towards Android. Back in May of this year, SE went on record as saying that they were "leaving the door open" for Windows Phone if it should start to take off. Finally, Sony has the option to port over the Sony PlayStation Suite, something they mentioned back in January, 2011.

So has that moment arrived or are we just looking too much into this?

Source: @SonyEricssonNL; Thanks, Jan Z., for the tip!

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Could Microsoft's recent domain acquisition signify a possible future collaboration between Sony Ericsson and Microsoft? It's surely debatable, but the domain names are so vague that it could cover a joint-venture between Sony itself and Microsoft (in entertainment etc.), as opposed to Sony Ericsson with Windows Phone 7. See the domains for yourself, sony-microsoft.com and microsoft-sony.com (both redirect to Bing SERPs), not really 'WP7 friendly' right?

Forum users at Neogaf discovered the domain names that were registered to Microsoft through Corporation Service Company (CSC), a corporate identity protection firm. The replies in the thread contain ideas that range from the software giant possibly taking over Sony (or vice versa), a Sony Vs Microsoft fighting game, Microsoft trolling, or -- of course -- Sony Ericsson WP7 handsets.

Sony Ericsson, once named as a key partner, had produced prototypes of a WP7 handset (with some cool concepts being designed), but the manufacturer never came to light with volume and a release. We mustn't forget that the two companies may be strong competitors in the gaming market, but Sony works with Microsoft and Windows so something could relate to the Vaio product line. Then again, these are mere domain names, Microsoft has a catalog of registrations. What do you guys think, what's most probable to come out of this should anything actually happen?

Source: Neogaf, via: WinRumors

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We previously covered leaked photos of the Sony Ericsson device being spread like wildfire, but were later confirmed (as we believed) to be of a cancelled prototype from last year prior to the Windows Phone 7 launch. Sony Ericsson wasn't at the launch party for cookies, neither have they been announced as a future OEM for the platform since it looks like the company have continued doubts.

We have now seen photos of a white version of the prototype "Julie" on a Polish forum, but this device lacks the functionality of the previously leaked handset with bootable ROM. Nice to see 16GB mentioned though and it doesn't look like a half bad phone with the keyboard reminding me much of my TV remote control. More photos after the break. 

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Sony Ericsson, once named as a key partner for Windows Phone 7 and who even had a prototype in the works, still does not have any immediate plans to use Redmond's latest OS in their phones. The one caveat is this: if the OS become big, they will jump in the game.

Speaking at Sony Ericsson’s annual Business Innovations Forum at Stanford recently, Jan Uddenfeldt, chief technology officer and head of Sony Ericsson Silicon Valley gave his latest remarks on Android and Windows Phone. According to Venture Beat:

While Android is the main focus of the company, it will still have a door open for Windows Phone 7. But it won’t be making any products if the operating system doesn’t take off, Uddenfeldt said. (It did previously manufacture phones with Windows Mobile OS.

Should we be upset? In theory, it'd be nice to have another OEM at the table, bringing some innovation and unique designs forward. However, the company to do that is not Sony Ericsson, who is doing so badly in smartphones these days, we really have nothing else to say on the matter except "good luck with Android!".

Source: Venture Beat; via MobileTechWorld

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Just as we thought those leaked pics showing off a Sony Ericsson device running Windows Phone 7 were of a canceled prototype, at least according to Eldar Murtazin of Mobile-Review. In a tweet, he reveals that yes, that quirky phone with the super old build of WP7 was back in the days when Sony was a launch partner but alas, something made them back out from the deal.

Kind of a real shame too, since Sony doesn't have that much cred with Windows Mobile/Phone users anymore, yet this device actually wowed quite a few of us. Perhaps they'll have a change of heard and we'll see this device some day.

Source: Twitter; via Pocketnow

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The future of Sony in the smartphone market has two major considerations for Windows Phone:

1) Will Sony make a Windows Phone 7 device?

2) Will Sony push their PlayStation platform on other mobile OSs?

The answer to the first is maybe. More specifically, Sony is keeping the door open to make a Windows Phone in the future, but as far as anyone knows, there's nothing immediately on the horizon. One reason for that is that some speculate Sony would not embrace a phone that makes the Xbox 360 its centerpiece. After all, this may seem to downplay Sony's own efforts in mobile gaming.

Sony though seems to be taking a mild mannered approach to the issue, suggesting that they are in fact, hardware/software neutral when it comes to their mobile PlayStation suite (prominently launching on Android). In a press event, SCE CEO Kaz Hirari stated:

We're focusing first on Android... There's also Windows [Phone], iOS and so forth, but we don't have the resources to make it compatible with everything from the start.

The statement is an echo of a recent meeting where Sony previously described the PlayStation suite as "hardware neutral". This seems to take out the argument that Sony won't ever do a Windows Phone either due to fears of competition in mobile gaming. In fact, we could imagine Sony doing a Windows Phone featuring Sony mobile gaming on it. But now the ball is in Microsoft's court: would they allow such a deal and partnership to go forward? This could be an interesting next few months and we'll try to grill Sony on this issue at Mobile World Congress in a few weeks.

Source: PocketGamer

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Two rumors love persisting in the blogosphere: Nokia wants Windows Phone 7 (despite numerous public denials) and that Sony Ericsson has either  devices planned (despite public denials)

Of course neither are true and that was reiterated today by Sony who in an interview made it clear they are sticking with Android for now. However, they also are clearly leaving the door open for a future with Microsoft but they are evidently being conservative here, waiting to see if it takes off:

We've done a lot of work with Microsoft over the years. We’ve launched a number of 6.xx products, but we made a decision not to bring a product to market in the first wave. We absolutely maintain to keep an open mind towards Windows Phone 7. We continue to engage in a relationship with Microsoft, but we haven’t made any concrete announcement about when and how we would introduce Windows Phone 7 into the portfolio.

We shouldn’t limit ourselves to one opportunity, but we aren’t yet ready to make any specific announcement about products. At this moment in time, there is clearly a galvanizing within the industry around Android as a creditable alternative to what’s out there, and we think that’s a good thing.

We're actually fine with this decision and think it makes sense. Sure, in theory having SE on board with Windows Phone 7 would be a huge sign of support but on the other...it's Sony Ericsson, the company with grand ideas and poor execution of nearly every major smartphone it has released recently.

Source: Pocket-lint

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