Well, this is truly surprising: mere days after we publish a story on Sony’s decision to retire the well-aged Xperia Home Android launcher, along with Sony Mobile’s lukewarm performance in the market of late, we learn that the Japanese electronics giant is working on a new Android launcher entirely. This news comes in the form of a comment by Erika Prymus, moderator for the Xperia Home Open Beta community, on the Google+ post that originally announced the retirement. The comment was quoted in a blog post by XperiaBlog.net, an unofficial but reliable blog site for all happenings around the Sony Xperia line.
Erika Prymus’ comment reads, “The reason for discontinuing new feature development in the current Xperia Home Application is that we are developing a new Home Application.” It’s unclear why Sony would decide to ditch an already functioning launcher and remake it. Perhaps the reason lies behind the fact that the upcoming Android P will feature gesture controls. We guess Sony wants to provide a neat integration of the two. The name of the new launcher remains unknown at the moment.
In the previous story, we speculated that Sony is in the process of ditching all its proprietary flavours of Android for a stock version of it, since other phone makers like Nokia have found success that way. Given this new information, we feel we could’ve been wrong. Actually, we can think of another reason now why Sony might not choose to go the stock way after all: Sony Xperia phones are known to come with a slew of proprietary AV and camera technologies that depend on proprietary drivers and utilities. X-Reality for the display, ClearAudio+ for the audio, and Motion Eye for the camera are some examples. These technologies are a combination of hardware and software. Running the stock version of Android may not allow Sony to fine-tune the software as it wants to for its features.
Nevertheless, Sony is yet to prove to us all that it’s catching up with the competition. Its last smartphone release happened in February this year with the launch of the Xperia XZ2, a phone that was considered outmoded in front of other flagship models that sport dual-lens cameras and high screen-to-body ratios. As always, the coming months should tell us more.