Thursday, May 18, 2006

Sony Ericsson Introduces New Walkman Phones

CIO Today writes that "Sony Ericsson has unveiled a handful of new mobile phones, including two handsets that capitalize on what the Sony side of the partnership does best: music and imaging. Altogether, Sony Ericsson introduced five new handsets. The two new Walkman phones are the high-end, fashionable W850 that runs on advanced GSM/UMTS networks, and the W710 for those who need a more durable phone that can withstand the abuses of an active lifestyle."

According to the article:

  • The W850 slider model is designed to facilitate quick music transfers from PC to handset, and also is configured for over-the-air downloads. The phone can store some 1,000 songs on the 1-GB memory stick, which can be upgraded to 4 GB.
  • the W710 has music-playing capabilities, plus a built-in motion sensor and the ability to measure your running speed and the distance you've traversed. It comes with a 2-megapixel camera and a 512-MB memory stick that can be upgraded to 1 GB.
  • the Z550 and Z710 clamshell phones, which feature stylish designs and enhanced picture-taking and Web-browsing capabilities, as well as the M608c messaging phone are designed for the burgeoning Chinese market.
IDC analyst Sean Ryan said, "People know and respect the Walkman brand, and music has become a strategic area for Sony Ericsson." Ryan pointed out "potential issues with the ability to download tunes directly to the phones through cellular connections."

He said that "until the deployment of third-generation networks becomes more widespread and over-the-air downloads become more of a seamless experience, users will continue to put songs on their phones by hooking them up to PCs rather than downloading them wirelessly."

Dave Linsalata at IDC noted "how rapidly Sony Ericsson is pushing mobile music into a wide range of handsets. He thought that "some handset vendors are deploying music-playing capabilities more slowly, not because it's hard to incorporate the technology into handsets, but because these companies want to make sure they are able to charge a premium for the music phones.

Linsalata said, "Sony Ericsson is clearly moving to leverage the Walkman brand strongly and deeply right off the bat."

All five new phones are set to hit the streets in the third quarter of 2006.