Sony announced that it will begin testing a stripped-down operating system called Concept for Android project among 500 Xperia Z3 users in Sweden.

The company said that the concept OS is essentially a vanilla version of Android 5.1 Lollipop, with "significant differences compared to our current commercial releases," including some added features and apps developed by the company that are built right in.

Testing Sony's Concept for Android will allow the company to receive bug reports and make the appropriate fixes, along with getting user's feedback to find out what they like and don't like.

"This trial will help us assess the potential of running wider Android operating system concept initiatives for more markets, devices and users in the future—as we look to shift towards a model that allows for the creation of experiences with real user input, whilst adopting more transparent and open workflows," the company writes in a blog post. "We believe this will eventually enable us to respond to your needs quicker and easier."

Xperia Z3 users based in Sweden could apply to be part of the Concept for Android testing, and were chosen on a first-come, first-served basis. Those who will test the OS will need a Windows OS device to successfully download this stripped-down Android OS onto their phones.

The testing period starts on July 27, and runs until Sept. 13. Testers can then restore their Z3 back to its original software.

This is not the first time Sony has conducted beta testing for operating systems in Sweden. The company tested Lollipop among its Xperia Z users last year before the release of the Xperia Z3 and Z2 devices that hit shelves this year.

This new OS shows that Sony is still attempting to hang onto the smartphone market, even though it is reducing the number of different devices from 61 in 2014 to 30 in 2016.

Sony released the Xperia Z3+, the premium addition it its Xperia Z3 series flagship smartphones, in May. The waterproof device is 6.9 mm and only 144 g, being the slimmest and sleekest of the series to date. It is equipped with a 5.2-inch HD display, an ultrafast Snapdragon 810 octa-core 64-bit processor, and Sony's Cyber-Shot and Handicap technologies in both the front- and rear-facing cameras.

Photo: Sony Mobile Communications

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