For a confessed Sony Ericsson fan boy, last Thursday’s unveiling of new Sony Ericsson models was a slice of heaven for me. The company launched three new Walkman phone models–the W200i, W610i, and W880i. The phones are expected to be available in the Philippines by the second quarter of this year.
I normally don’t get to attend launchings, they’re either too early–morning and lunch events–or too late–evening affairs–for me. But last week, I swapped news desk tasks with a colleague just to attend the event. When I got there, the event hadn’t started yet and I got to talk to Sony Ericsson officials about their products. One, in particular, warned me against converting my K750i into a W800i, a task I’m 90 percent bent on performing. “Huwag!!!â€? (No!!!!) was what she said, but that’s for another post.
Of the three phones launched, the cheapest is the W200i. It is marketed as a “Walkman phone for everyone,â€? an entry-level music mobile.
The W200i is a tri-band phone that does all the things a modern phone does: send SMS, MMS, take photos (but with only a VGA camera, but what do you expect, it’s an entry-level phone for crying out loud), play games and a host of other multi-media phone functions.
A Sony Ericsson official said in a company statement that “the W200 is an affordable music phone that complements your existing MP3 player.” He’s being diplomatic, or else protective of Sony’s other product lines. I say ditch your MP3 player and use your Walkman phone if you have one. Why lug around one more device?
The W200i uses the 1.0 version of the Walkman Media Player. The phone comes with a 128mb Memory Stick Micro (M2) but the slot is expandable up to 2GB. To make full use of your Walkman phone, buy a bigger memory stick, 512mb at least. The phone’s memory stick also serves as a portable storage device for digital files.
The two other phones launched last week – W610i and W880i — use the 2.0 version of Walkman Media Player. Among other features, this new player allows you to download cover art for your albums. The new version, I am told, is closest to recreating the PC digital music player experience on the phone.
Both the W610i and W880i are 3G phones and sport features that can make anyone drool. They both come with a 2.0 megapixel camera with a horizontal UI, meaning you use the phone on its side when you take photos. This offers a more camera feel to the device. Both units also come with picture blogging, full HTML browsing and RSS feed handling. They also come with Bluetooth connectivity.
The phones can also be used for USB mass storage and comes with PC synchronization capabilities. I haven’t tried Sony Ericsson’s recent PC Suite because I prefer to use the open source Float’s Mobile Agent (FMA) with the phone. I suspect the current FMA version wouldn’t work with these units yet but give it a few months, a version will be released that would work with these models.
What distinguishes the W880i is its slim frame. It’s so thin, as thin as a Skyflakes biscuit pack or thinner, even. Journalists who attended the launching appeared impressed by the package, at least most of the ones I talked to were. One reporter, though, compared it to a calculator.
I think the phone looks sleek and sexy. Most Sony Ericsson phones look like bricks when placed side by side with such models as the Motorola Razr. The W880i package lives up to the sexiness of its functionality. But maybe I’m biased. I am, after all, a Sony Ericsson fan boy.
But, I thought to myself during the presentation of the phone by the drop-phone-and-say-hello-gorgeous model (see photo) that if a booming voice from up there were to suddenly say “Max, you have been a good boy these past few months. As reward, you can pick either the phone or the model to take home with you tonight,” I’d pick the phone anytime. It is that sexy.