Sony is stopping most of its development efforts related to the Xperia Home Android launcher, a company official said Monday, having attributed the move to a "business decision," implying the firm is presently in the process of cutting costs across its handset operations. The app won't be killed off entirely but is now set to enter a "maintenance phase," meaning no new features or functionalities will be added to Xperia Home going forward but updates containing bug fixes and performance improvements may still continue rolling out indefinitely, so long as Sony's developers believe they are "necessary."
The maintenance phase comes with no promises of regular patches, though the wording of the announcement implies Sony is at the very least looking to optimize its launcher for the next iteration of Android (P) which is set to hit the stable channel in the third quarter of the year. As no new features are now in the works, Xperia Launcher no longer needs a beta program for testing them, with the Japanese company now confirming the app's beta community will be shutting down in the coming weeks. Xperia Launcher made its way to the Google Play Store just over a year ago following years of development, with that move originally being interpreted as Sony's effort to streamline the process of creating and distributing new features for the mobile solution.
The Tokyo-based original equipment manufacturer already killed off another one of its mobile software projects earlier this month by announcing its Xperia Weather Android app is being discontinued this summer, having also attributed that move to a "business decision." With the firm's smartphone sales now being on a decline and its handset unit losing $250 million over its last fiscal year, Sony may be looking to improve performance by cutting costs, especially as the tech giant already said it's expecting mobile sales to continue shrinking in the near future.