Vodafone drops plans to carry Xperia X2

The operator will not release Sony Ericsson's flagship Windows Mobile handset as it 'no longer fits in' with the Vodafone portfolio

Vodafone UK has reversed its decision to stock Sony Ericsson's new flagship Windows Mobile handset, the Xperia X2.

The operator was lined up to have UK exclusivity on the Xperia X2, which runs Windows Mobile 6.5. The handset was originally supposed to have gone on sale at the end of October 2009, but failed to do so.

In a statement on Wednesday, Vodafone UK said it would "not be ranging the Sony Ericsson X2".

"The delivery date of the device, with Windows 6.5, slipped pre-Christmas due to a series of technical issues, and we have taken the decision not to go ahead with the launch as it no longer fits with our planned portfolio," the company said.

Sony Ericsson also issued a statement, in which it said the delivery date had slipped "due to extended testing". The manufacturer said it was "disappointed not to make this phone available to consumers in the UK".

Analysts have noted that Windows Mobile is finding increasing competition from rivals such as the Apple iPhone and Google Android platforms. Vodafone announced on Tuesday that it would stock the latest Android phone — Google's Nexus One — across Europe from spring. Sony Ericsson is due to release its own Android handset, the Xperia X10, in February.

Gartner analyst Carolina Milanesi said Sony Ericsson was "better off focusing on Android". She noted that the Xperia X1, the X2's predecessor, had "not been a particularly successful product", partly due to the Windows Mobile platform and partly due to its form factor.

"[The X1] was similar to the Nokia N97, which [also] wasn't a successful product," Milanesi said. "It's a little too big for what customers want. The X10 should be a much better fit for the Vodafone portfolio."

In November last year, Carphone Warehouse suspended sales of Sony Ericsson's flagship Satio Symbian handsets due to reports of high customer returns.

Milanesi said it was "a shame" that the Satio had experienced probems, as it was good from a hardware perspective. However, she questioned Sony Ericsson's choice of Symbian as a platform, given the imminent release of the X10.

"Perhaps they weren't expecting the X10 to be ready as soon as it will be," Milanesi said. "They need to make a decision on the platforms. They can't continue to support their proprietary platform as well as three others."

"The market will be Android — that's what will give them a fair chance to get back to a more reasonable position. I continue to see 2010 as being challenging for them, definitely the first half of the year."


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