Sony Ericsson yesterday held a media preview event in London for its high-profile Windows Mobile-based Xperia X1 handset launch and told Reuters that future devices marketed under the Xperia brand will not necessarily run on Microsoft’s software platform. “The brand is not tied into any specific technical platform,” Magnus Andersson, product manager for the X1, told the news agency.

The X1 is Sony Ericsson’s first phone to be powered by Windows Mobile and is seen as a way of boosting Microsoft’s presence in the smartphone market and Sony Ericsson’s market fortunes. According to Gartner, Windows Mobile had a 12 percent Q2 2008 share of the smartphone operating system market, behind Research In Motion (RIM) (17.4 percent) and Symbian (57.1 percent). Meanwhile, Sony Ericsson, best known for its Cybershot camera and Walkman music phones, has slid to fifth place in global rankings of mobile phone makers, most recently falling behind LG Electronics earlier this year. The Xperia X1 is seen by many as the vendor’s answer to Apple’s iPhone and similar top-tier phones from the likes of RIM (BlackBerry Bold), Samsung (Instinct) and HTC (Touch Diamond). Announced at the GSMA Mobile World Congress in February, the device was plagued by reports of a launch delay but is set to go live on September 30 in the UK, Germany and Sweden, with availability elsewhere around the world during fourth-quarter 2008.