There was a time when Sony Ericsson ruled the roost with its innovative smartphone designs that pushed the boundaries of use case in that era. The Sony Ericsson Xperia Play with a sliding D-pad, dual touchpads and PlayStation buttons for pure gaming bliss was a very good example. Then came the Xperia Play 2 that never saw the light of day, since the Sony – Ericsson partnership ended just within a year’s time after its release. Now, yet another cancelled prototype device has propped-up that has sparked the interest of netizens, and for good reason.

This VAIO-branded Sony Ericsson smartphone from 2010 was way ahead of its time with a hinged slide-out keyboard with big QWERTY keys for laptop-like usage. XDA Developers have managed to get their hands on some exclusive photos of the Android-based phone with a 5.5-inch display and a solo rear camera. As is evident, the prototype device is running Android 2.1 Éclair OS with navigation buttons that remind us of that time.

The device has a two-stage hinge mechanism that slides out flat and thereafter inclines up for a laptop-like configuration. For such a small device having a large keyboard, the space usage is perfectly executed – it even has Android buttons, search buttons and a function key. On the back, the VAIO branding is pretty apparent, with a less prominent Sony Ericsson Logo.

Now that the device is long gone for any hopes of a revival since the VAIO brand has been offloaded, OEMs can take some inspiration to resurrect the design. After all, productivity is prime in the current scenario and a well-executed slide-out keyboard form factor could entice the interest of the choosy ones.


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