Sony Ericsson plans more specialized phones

Sony Ericsson is planning more handsets that are tuned to specific tasks, its president said in an interview this week.

After an enthusiastic consumer reaction to Walkman-branded cell phones, Sony Ericsson Mobile Communications is planning more handsets that are focused around a single, major feature, the company's president said in an interview in Tokyo this week.

The company put its first Walkman handset on sale in August 2005. Several more models, all of which have more of an emphasis on music than a conventional handset, have followed and sold "way beyond our expectations," said Miles Flint. From launch to the end of 2005 the company sold 3 million Walkman handsets and sales in the first quarter of this year totaled 2.5 million phones.

In designing the phones the company sought to leverage the power of Sony's Walkman brand name, which despite being bruised by competition from Apple Computer's iPod is still very widely associated with portable music.

"We are trying to build our reputation on being the leader in mobile music and it seems to be working," said Flint.

The brand name gives Sony Ericsson an advantage over its competitors, he said.

"If you look at the other four handset makers I'm not sure any have been able to establish a brand with their phones that make them stand out as music devices. Motorola clearly had the first attempt to link up with Apple and it seems initially that hasn't proved hugely successful and with the other three it isn't clear how they can brand their phones to make them stand out to consumers," he said.

"If Sony hadn't let us use Walkman -- and there was never any doubt they wouldn't -- it would have been much more difficult," said Flint.

The phones are also being well received by carriers, he said. Over-the-air downloads help drive usage of networks and increase revenues so mobile music is an area in which many network operators are interested, he said. Sony Ericsson is finding the same with two other lines of phones it plans to push this year.

The K800, launched earlier this year, is the first model to borrow another famous Sony brand name: Cybershot. Flint said its digital still camera functions are a notch above other handsets and the phone includes a link with Google's Blogger service that allows users to quickly upload photos and messages to their blogs. It's another example of a handset more tightly focused than a traditional model and also something operators are welcoming because it drives up data traffic, he said.

Sony Ericsson's third area of interest this year, after Walkman and Cybershot handsets, is Blackberry-enabled models for the business and corporate market, he said.

"Most operators say our phones are among the biggest ARPU drivers," he said, referring to the industry abbreviation for average revenue per user.

As new handsets come out users are likely to see more phones that combine several functions but are tuned to one primary use, Flint said.

"I don't think we're heading to the Swiss Army knife that does everything," he said. He likened the handset market to the digital camera market, where video cameras can take still images and still cameras can do video but no single device does both very well.

As for the future of mobile music and the much-rumored iPod phone, Flint said it could be good for Sony Ericsson's business if such a device is developed.

"If there was one, it would probably accelerate the whole music on mobile [market]," he said. "With the head-start we've got, I think we can compete with anyone else whoever they may be."

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Martyn Williams

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

Learn more >

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?