Well, obviously you can access this stuff with any browser-toting phone, but nothing beats a good widget. Sony Ericsson has just announced that users of its Xperia X1 handset will get dedicated Windows Live and Facebook panels for their phones.
To recap: Sony Ericsson has taken an unusual route with the X1, as far as Windows Mobile phones go. Its user interface is based on 'panels' (nine of them usually), which are sort of like multiple home screens, and sort of like iPhone-esque widgets. These ones come as part of another, existing panel (see how this can get confusing?) from the company Dashwire.
What you get with the Facebook panel is:
· An entirely new visual representation of friends' statuses · Simple and fast upload of photos to Facebook · Easy access to Facebook friends list and phone numbers, with click to call capabilities.
And for Windows Live:
The Windows Live panel uses existing Windows Live ID to sync contacts held in the X1's phonebook, and the panel will provide easy access to an intuitive Microsoft messenger interface, including Hotmail and Live Messenger, the world’s most widely used free instant messaging service. The panel will also give users access to the Windows Live Search function, which is tailored to mobile phones and can be voice activated and controlled. Other Windows Live services will be incorporated into the panel throughout the year.
There's a full-on developer competition going on at Sony Ericsson right now to encourage this sort of thing, so if you're interested then enter here. You have until the end of January.
I think it's fair to say that this is just a further demonstration of how much influence the iPhone and Android have had on the mobile industry. Sony Ericsson's probably right in joining the developer-centric trend, but it had better make its commitment to Windows Mobile a bit more explicit for the long-term if it's really going to get developers to bite beyond the competition.