Sony may be taking it all off with a stripped-down Android interface

Sony Xperia Z3

Update: Since this article was first published, Sony has shared images of the new "Concept for Android" UI.

It looks like it will closely resemble the Android 5.1 Lollipop design with a few Sony apps and services included. So far it promises to be much more appetising than Sony's usual offering.

Sony Concept for Android

Original: Sony has launched a new initiative called Concept for Android, which invites Swedish Xperia Z3 owners to test out a new version of its software. This essentially involves beta testing a new-look interface for Sony's current and upcoming smartphones.

Successful applicants will get new software to install on their Z3 handsets. While using it they can give feedback about what they like and dislike, which will help Sony craft software that better reflects what its customers want.

It's a lot like what Microsoft is doing with allowing people to test out Windows 10 before its launch, though this time on a smaller Sweden-sized scale.

Jog on LifeLog

Judging by Sony's web page for Concept for Android, it looks like Xperia owners will be getting a new-look user interface with a "fresh take on the Sony user experience".

This is good news for anyone who's turned off by Sony's custom overlay for Android, and could mean that pre-installed apps and services like LifeLog are scrapped – but we doubt a lot of people will complain about that.

As the Concept for Android trial will only work with Xperia Z3 units (which have a 1080p display) and not Xperia Z3 Compact devices (with 720p screens), a visual overhaul could be on its way – with assets and icons for full HD screens ready to be tested.

The Concept for Android initiative runs from July 27 to September 13, and you can sign up now, though there are a few caveats.

Not only do you have to be a Swedish Z3 owner, your personal data and settings will be erased when you test out the new software (you can, of course, back them up before you start).

Sony will also be closely monitoring how you use the software, especially when there are bugs and crashes – which you can expect a fair amount of as it's early software.

Oh, and you won't be able to show anyone outside of the programme what the new interface looks like, so the rest of us will have to wait to find out what Sony has in store. Boo.

Matt Hanson
Managing Editor, Core Tech

Matt is TechRadar's Managing Editor for Core Tech, looking after computing and mobile technology. Having written for a number of publications such as PC Plus, PC Format, T3 and Linux Format, there's no aspect of technology that Matt isn't passionate about, especially computing and PC gaming. He’s personally reviewed and used most of the laptops in our best laptops guide - and since joining TechRadar in 2014, he's reviewed over 250 laptops and computing accessories personally.