Xperia X1a: Sony Ericsson's White Whale?

This year has flown by rather quickly and it seems like just yesterday Sony Ericsson announced their new Windows Mobile device, the Xperia X1. Way back in February of this year, we reported that Sony had joined the Windows Mobile family by introducing the Xperia during the Mobile World Congress. Since then we've diligently kept on eye on the rumor mill for a release of this device and continue to wait.

During that time we've had countless sightings of the Xperia, a few in-depth looks at the device and even heard that Sony was planning a developer competition for the Xperia's Sliding Panel interface (did that ever happen?). Released dates came and went with no luck in seeing the Xperia hit the shelves. September became November; November became December; and know we all look towards January (almost one year from the announcement) for the long anticipated release. Best Buy teased us by putting the Xperia on their website for pre-order, only to change the ad to "Coming Soon" a few weeks later. You begin to have the feeling that the Xperia X1a (the US version) is Sony's white whale and you're Captain Ahab sailing the seven seas.

And yes, the Xperia X1i has hit the shelves over-seas which should be some sort of consolation, but it doesn't do much for the empty feeling those waiting for the Xperia have. To add insult to injury, Sony announced this week that they were ending the partnership with HTC (manufacturer of the X1) and joining forces with Foxconn to develop the Xperia X2. An announcement that really makes you scratch your head, considering the X1 has yet to hit the shelves.

As I ponder the saga that has become the Xperia X1a, one must ask, is it still worth the wait? Mobinnova, a subsidiary of Foxconn, announced a Windows Mobile device (the ICE) that on paper looks as impressive if not more than the Xperia X1. Mysterious cracks have started showing up on the oversea's models and while the Xperia makes a good first impression, some reviews aren't so exciting about the phone. BoyGenius compared the Xperia X1 with the AT&T Fuze and while the review considered the Xperia to be a quality phone (fantastic was the word used), it was hard to justify the higher priced Sony as being better than the Fuze. Quoting the reviewer, "The Fuze offers a much more complete experience than the X1, and that combined with the price really makes this a winner."

We'll be watching the news wire in January with everyone else hoping to see the "coming soon" signs associated with the Xperia X1a change to "In Stock". Surely there's a limit to the number of delays possible for the X1. If not, the X2 is scheduled for release sometime towards the latter end of 2009. Wouldn't that be something? If the X2 hit U.S. shelves before the X1a?

WC Staff