Tag Archives | Sony Ericsson

Sony Ericsson Xperia X10 Breaks the $200 Superphone Barrier

Apparently Sony Ericsson didn’t get the memo that you’re supposed to charge $200 for high-end Android phones.

Sony Ericsson’s Xperia X10, which has been sold unlocked to U.S. customers since at least March for $1,000, and now $550, finally got its first subsidy from AT&T. And unlike other Android phones with big screens, fancy cameras and fast processors, the Xperia X10 costs $150 with a two-year contract.

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Sony Ericsson’s Motion-Sensing Earbuds Sound Cool

mh907_520x311Here’s a neat idea from Sony Ericsson: Put motion sensors in earbuds, so they automatically stop playback when you pop them out, and resume the music when you put them back in. As someone who hates fumbling for the play button when temporarily removing earbuds — say, to answer a question — I’m interested.

The MH907 earbuds use capacitive sensors that turn your ear into an electrical conduit, determining whether the earbuds are inserted. In addition to controlling music, the earbuds work as a cell phone headset, going into call mode when you insert only one bud.

Here’s the catch: You’ll need one of Sony Ericsson’s phones with a Fast Port connector, as opposed to a standard 3.5 mm jack.

On one hand, this makes sense, as you’re sending as well as receiving information from the headphones. Still, iPods are able to detect when you’ve removed headphones from the jack entirely, so I’m wondering if a 3.5 mm connection could at least handle the basic on and off switching from the motion sensor. In any case, I can’t fault Sony Ericsson for using a cool accessory to sell its music phones.

Before today, Sony Ericsson was teasing that this announcement would change the way we listen to music forever. That seems a little extreme, but if there’s any chance the company hasn’t locked up the idea with a patent, I’m hoping we’ll see other manufacturers follow suit.


A Playstation Phone? Sooner Than You Think.

playstation-logoOne of the most cherished Sony rumors surfaced again over the weekend, as Nikkei reported that the company is considering a cellphone and video game hybrid.

Rumor has it that Sony could bring together a project team as early as July to combine functions of an Ericsson phone with Sony’s gaming devices. Reuters, which spotted Nikkei’s article, didn’t use the “Playstation Phone” terminology, but that’s what everyone’s thinking. This is particularly interesting given that Sony refused to license the Playstation brand to Ericsson on a previous occasion because the technology wasn’t there.

So is the rumor true? It’s certainly not impossible, but all the retellings of this report missed an interesting tidbit from a week ago: Sony is already planning to integrate Playstation with an existing touch screen phone, the Satio.

Speaking at a press conference in Singapore, Hirokazu Ishizuka, head of Sony Ericsson’s Asia Pacific Region, said that “you can enjoy your PlayStation games so therefore this product is so powerful and we are very confident [of] this product’s success.” The report by ABS-CBN didn’t elaborate further except to say that gaming is part of a larger multimedia platform for the phone, which is due in about six months.

It’s not clear exactly what Ishizuka meant by his statement. We know the Satio’s PlayNow arena is a robust multimedia service, but it remains to be seen whether any Playstation branding will creep in.

ABS-CBN’s report would be perfect if Ishizuka was talking about the Aino, another Ericsson phone notable for its ability to remotely stream music and vidoes from a connected Playstation 3. Alas, we’ve got two phones that would for all intents and purposes be a Playstation Phone, if only they were mashed into one.


Standardized Phone Charger Would be a Godsend

Europe is doing it right: A group of major cell phone manufacturers that control 90 percent of the market–including Nokia and Sony Ericsson–have backed a European Union standard for phone chargers that would mean that buying a new phone wouldn’t require you to throw out the old charger.

Reuters reports that the standard only applies to data-enabled phones, which are expected to account for half of all phone sales in 2010. European consumers will be able to buy standardized phones that use a micro-USB socket starting next year.

The big question: When is this coming to the United States? Apple has sort of hit on a standard for chargers, given that the iPhone and iPod use the same Dock Connector. But the compatibility ends once you leave the Apple family of mobile devices. (And isn’t universal even with Apple gadgets: Recent iPhones and iPods don’t work with older car chargers.)

Why can’t others agree to use the same charger technology? Money is obviously part of it. The cell phone companies and stores have to love socking customers with a new $35 car charger every time they buy a new phone. But wouldn’t the goodwill of coming up with an environmentally friendly system go a lot further with customers?

Imagine not having to dig through a drawer full of cords, trying to find the right one that fits your phone. Or when a out of town guest visits and forgets their own charger, you’d easily be able to share. Hopefully the EU movement will spread quickly on this side of the pond.


Mobile World Congress: One Day, Sixteen New Phones

cheatsheetPhones. More phones. Phones that look a lot like iPhones, except for the ones that don’t. Phones that may never show up in the good old US of A. Phones that are full of style, and ones that seem to be devoid of discernible personality. That, in short, was my Monday at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, where I spent the entire day bopping from press conference to press conference, learning about new handsets from most of the major manufacturers (as well as laptop titan Acer, which announced today that it’s getting into the phone biz).

I wrote about some of the day’s debutantes as I encountered them, but missed others. And while the show is teeming with journalists who are cranking out a surging sea of stories on all the announcements, I’m not sure if anyone’s trying to put as much as possible in one place.

So here’s a stab at a convenient, concise guide to nearly every new phone I encountered as of Monday evening (I left off a couple of far-off models which Acer mentioned only fleetingly and cryptically). Most of these phones have been announced only in GSM models, except for the two HTCs. Nobody revealed anything about American carriers today, although in some cases you might be able to make educated guesses.

The fact that a spec isn’t mentioned doesn’t indicate a phone doesn’t have it–in some cases, the manufacturers provided something less than full information, and I’m not trying to provide all the ones they did mention (all these phones have basic stuff like Bluetooth, and I stopped short of listing info like their dimensions and the media formats they support). If you know more about any of these models than I do, please speak up.

And one last note: Yes, I know that it’s increasingly tough to judge phones by their hardware specs. In the post-iPhone era, it’s the software that gives a handset much of its functionality and character. I didn’t get to touch most of these phones at all today, and certainly didn’t spend enough time with any of them to come to conclusions about the quality of their interfaces. But even today, specs and other basic facts mean something–and after the jump, I’ll give you plenty of ’em to chew on…

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Do You Think This is Sony Ericsson’s Answer to the iPhone? Idou!


I’m in Barcelona for Mobile World Congress, the world’s biggest show on phones and other things wireless and portable, and while the conference doesn’t get underway until tomorrow, the town is already bristling with parties and product launches. I attended Sony Ericsson’s bash, at which it unveiled a new Walkman phone called the W995 and a “just one more thing” which is code-named Idou. The latter (which I keep wanting to spell iDou) won’t show up until sometime in the second half of this year, and it’s an iPhone-like critter with a 3.5-inch touch screen, an emphasis on entertainment, and–this feature isn’t the least bit iPhone-like–a 12.1-megapixel camera with flash.

The Idou (which will be called something else when it appears) runs the next-generation open-source version of the Symbian OS, and part of an initiative Sony Ericsson calls “Entertainment Unlimited”–the details of which it was vague about, except to say that it represents “the true fusion of communication and entertainment.” Other than that, the company wasn’t talking much about specs and features tonight. (No word on whether the interface is multi-touch–a S-E rep called it “full touch.)  After the jump, one photo by me of a Sony Ericsson exec onstage, just to prove I was there, and some beauty shots provided by the company.

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More Companies Jump on Google’s Android Bandwagon

Google AndroidThe Open Handset Alliance–the organization responsible for Google’s Android open-source mobile operating system–has rallied more companies into its camp, significantly  increasing the likelihood that there will be an influx of Android-based devices in the near future. C0nsumers will be the big winners: With Apple and RIM battling furiously, the added jolt that an influx of Android-based devices has on the marketplace could inspire even greater innovation.

Today, the alliance announced that 14 more companies had joined its membership rolls, and that those companies would either be manufacturing compatible devices, introducing complementary products and services, or contributing code to the Android open source Project. Google was the founding member of the alliance, and is the primary contributor to Android.

The new members include AKM Semiconductor, ARM, ASUSTek Computer, Atheros Communications, Borqs, Ericsson, Garmin International, Huawei Technologies, Omron Software, Softbank Mobile, Sony Ericsson, Teleca AB, Toshiba and Vodafone. They join a conglomeration of nearly 50 other companies, including carriiers, device manufacturers, and chip makers’s G1, the first phone powered by Android, stacks up well against comparable smart phones and has received reasonably favorable reviews.

More importantly, the G1 is partly credited for driving device maker HTC’s record profits last month. With proven sales appeal and its royalty-free license, other device makers are likely to follow HTC’s lead and adopt Android.

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