CES 2008: Live Report
Sony Ericsson was the other company besides Motorola which announced several new devices. The most interesting of those was W760. The device is the first Walkman phone with global 3G frequencies, allowing it to be used everywhere in the world.
But this is not the most important feature. Back in 2004 and 2005, a few GSM Motorola devices were introduced which featured GPS. We are not talking about smartphones but regular phones. Believe it or not, the W760 is the first phone after those to have GSP built-in! Unlike Nokia which offers its free Nokia Maps software bundled with all GSP-enabled devices, Sony Ericsson will offer Wayfinder free for the first three months. After that, separate license will have to be purchased. From the scoop we were able to gather, currently SE is in talks with AT&T and T-Mobile and the phones sold in the US by those carriers (if they pick them up) will not have the Wayfinder included. Keep in mind this is just preliminary information!
The third interesting feature is the 3D gaming capabilities. Just like Nokia with their N-Gage platform, obviously Sony Ericsson is trying to get a piece of the gaming entertainment market. Depending on the market, the phone will come with one or more pre-loaded games.
Everything else on the W760 is pretty standard – 512 M2 card will be included in the sales package in most markets. The phone accepts up to 4GB cards, but according to one SE rep they have tried even with 8GB and it still worked.
The other two phones from the manufacturer are from the lower mid-level class and come with the design as their main selling point. The Walkman W350 is targeted to the “under 25” crowd for whom, the Flip form factor is something new, and eye-catching. Actually, everything new is well-forgotten old, and it hasn’t seen phones with that form factor for years because other designs such as clamshell and slider replaced it, as more convenient. Still, Sony Ericsson decided that it would bring some interest from the young audience.
Initially we thought it was used in order to place the music keys on it, and the standard keypad when opened, but it actually turns out that the music buttons are “fake” and physically press those under them. Still, we didn’t have any problems with them, working fine. W350 features are nothing unique, and it will be interesting to people who want slim (it is 0.4”) and different (Flip) phone at decent price. It will be available in a few color versions including light blue, two variants of black, and white.
The Z555 is a clamshell, also with mid-level functionality that is not worth discussing. Its key features are the design and the new gesture detection control, which obviously Sony Ericsson will start to implement in its phones. The front of the phone has diamond-like pattern, and so does its form. This reminds us of the Nokia Prism phones, but here the front panel is not flat but in relief, which is both pleasant to touch and also looks cool, reflecting the light.
The gesture control this time reminds us of the much more expensive Arte series of Nokia. The Finnish phones offered “turn-to-mute” where you turn the phone face-down on the table to mute its ringing sound. Sony Ericsson doesn’t use dedicated sensor but the built-in camera, which is on the front. Just sweep your hand back and forth over the phone’s front side to mute an incoming call and send it to VM, or to snooze the alarm. This is the first usage of this technology, but considering Sony Ericsson’s patent we could expect more advanced features of this type to appear in future models.