The relationship between Sony and Sony Ericsson has long been of interest to industry watchers. Sony is a fractious company, with plentiful tales of inter-division rivalries and politics that could rival medieval Europe, while Sony Ericsson carries with it rumours of deeper cultural clashes and disagreements. Sony Ericsson, moreover, loses a lot of money, and is Sony's sole brand presence in the increasingly pivotal world of smartphones while denying the insanely brand-sensitive mothership control of design and direction.
How long, one wonders, can this go on?
Not long, one suspects. Especially now that Sony Ericsson has adopted the new make.believe tagline that Sony Corporate is imposing across all its brands. I'll spare you the toe-curdling, blood-curling marketing nonsense that goes with that particular exercise - we'll all have it shoved down our throats as Christmas approaches with more vigour than a Village People afterparty - but the thing to note here is that SE has at last been caught in the Tokyo tractor beam.
It won't end here. You have to ask yourself how much Sony would love a handset that could go up against the iPhone on pure style alone. Then ask whether the Xperia X2 is that phone - Windows and qwerty keyboard, eh? - and what on earth is going on with experiments like the Pureness, and the scene is set for further, deeper and quite rapid assimilation.
Where this will leave partner Ericsson, who you can't quite see being happy to march under make.believe, is another good question. But I'll bet an Ericsson T39 to a PS/3 Slim that by this time next year, Sony Ericsson will be unrecognisable - if it exists in that form at all.