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Tuesday, November 07, 2006

SonyEricsson and UIQ

Interesting. S-E has today announced that it's acquiring the UIQ interface business from Symbian. I guess in hindsight this really isn't any big surprise - apart from S-E, nobody else really makes UIQ phones in any meaningful volume any more (I think there's still a Moto phone in production, and maybe an ODM one). I can't imagine Symbian's other shareholders can have been too chuffed at effectively subsidising S-E's software development.

More interesting is what S-E will do with UIQ in future. It is unclear to me whether this signals a push to drive Symbian further down its product range - perhaps as a better way to do operator customisation & multitasking, or as a platform for IMS services. Given S-E's recent good form with handsets like its K800i, it must be in two minds - not messing about with an existing high-end featurephone platform that works fine, vs. having to continue to evolve this for the uncertain applications of the future.

If S-E does use UIQ in a greater range of devices, and it also carries on creating must-have phones, I reckon that Vodafone may already be rethinking yesterday's software platform announcement and contemplating adding a fourth OS to its short-list.....

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