The latest Xperia handsets announced by Sony at last month's Mobile World Congress reaffirmed the company's commitment to striking design, and while they're launching with Android 2.3 Gingerbread for now, an update to Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich has been promised for next quarter. But some users would have preferred a different operating system entirely; there are those who believe that Sony's stylish handset designs would be the perfect match for the Windows Phone OS.
The idea of Microsoft's latest mobile operating system featuring on Sony's smartphones isn't a new one, and it resurfaces from time to time in the form of rumours suggesting that such devices are indeed on the way. But the idea isn't completely without precedent - in fact, the company built prototypes running Windows Phone before it abandoned development to focus on Android.
The development handset design was known by its codename, ‘Julie', and was created back in the Sony Ericsson days (before the company bought out Ericsson's stake, to become Sony Mobile Communications). It's not known exactly how many Julie prototype handsets were built, but The Next Web spotted that one of them has now popped up on eBay, where it's currently on sale with a starting price of $250 USD, and a Buy It Now price of $500 USD.
The handset is a QWERTY slider with an 8.1MP camera, wi-fi, GPS and push-to-talk (PTT) capabilities. Everything in the listing points to this being a working handset, although it obviously won't be backed up by any warranty or official support from Sony. It's also pictured with a very early, pre-release build of Windows Phone (note the old Internet Explorer and Xbox Live tile designs), and - much like the Samsung Taylor developer handsets - is unlikely to be eligible for official OS updates.
Still, if you fancy owning a little piece of Windows Phone history, head on over to eBay and get bidding.
Images via eBay listing (top) and Mobile Tech World (bottom)