Their greatest contribution was the one that was never made
Let's not forget this beast from the Bond film Tomorrow Never Dies
I'll miss em.
It promised to bring together the best of Swedish design and Japanese consumer electronics marketing, and at times, it did. But after 10 years and one month, Sony has pulled the plug on its mobile phone venture with Ericsson. The venture was born out of necessity, with two great storied giants forming a sort of losers' …
The "ordinary" Xperia Arc is excellent too. It's the best phone I've owned by a country mile, but is undeservedly in the shadows due to the massive hype surrounding anything marketed by Samsung or HTC.
SE's initial foray into the Android world certainly wasn't a smooth ride for the early adopters, but much the same could be said of Samsung's behaviour too.
".... I wanted one of them so badly back in 2002, but they were out of my price range for a lowly underpaid IT 1"
I loved mine - it was the only phone which could text properly and who cares if mine is still held together by elastic bands it's still great.
A shame about the colour, though.
I remember lusting after the P800.
Eventually, I got a P900, which lasted me a long time, still works, but the buttons are not in good condition.
Then a P990, which still works perfectly to this day, with the very latest firmware update. Even the battery life is still superb. I don't use it any more though, I just have it sat in the dock that came with it (a time when smartphones actually came with useful accessories!) as a secondary alarm clock.
Both could manage to run SCUMMVM, which allowed you to play Monkey Island on the move. Paired with a resistive screen and a stylus, this was actually remarkably good.
SE T610. One of the worst phones I've ever had. The joystick thingie stopped worked after about 3 months. And then it started developing random crashes within about 6 months. Couldn't wait for the contract to be up so I could go back to a Nokia. The only worse phone I've owned was a blackberry with the stupid roller wheel on it - I broke 4 of those in a single year.
You were unlucky,
My T610 is still going strong, I use it when I need to quick booting phone. Battery lasts forever, nice clear screen.
My T28 died because the flip front snapped off when it popped open in my pocket.
My T39 ran for at least 10 years and had to be replaced by the friend I lent it too when the battery had to be persuaded to stay attached to the phone with tape.
I think they went downhill after that. Never really liked my K700.
The advantage that Sony has is that it controls a lot of content, and Sony's products are viewed as being prestigious.. maybe not as much as Apple products and heaven knows that they've done a lot over the past few years to screw their reputation up, but still a Sony is usually a nice thing to own.
In terms of content, they have the stupidly named Qriocity service, plus music, TV shows, movies and then they can continued to leverage sub-brands and technologies such as Walkman, Playstation, Cybershot and Bravia (there have been Bravia phones in Japan). Sony will add the Xperia sub-brand and then cross-sell like mad I guess.
Back in 2001 the JV was the way to go. If you remember that far back, people really did just buy mobile phones and at most a couple of ringtones and some Java games. Ericsson was probably a stronger brand those days in that market, so it worked. These days people buy a whole experience, and really Ericsson is a B2B outfit now and has very little consumer engagement.. where Sony is very consumer oriented.
In those ten years, they've had some pretty influential handsets. The article mentions the P800 and P900 (and I guess P910) smartphones, and the T610 looked brilliant.. my personal favourites have to the the W800 and K750. After that it went into a decline until SE upped their game with the latest Xperias.
My guess is that the Ericsson name will disappear from the handsets after the deal closes in the New Year.
Sony will certainly see an advantage in ramming their content onto Sony phones. As a user I'm used to carriers infesting their handsets with crapware designed to sell content and hate it. The manufacturer doing it is more annoying, taking away the option of buying an unbranded phone to avoid the crap.
...there was a lot of content pushing crap on my Xperia Play, most unable to be removed before I rooted.
It's a real pity, SE had embraced unlocking the devices so it was easy to clean the phone up. That's the exact opposite of Sony's ethos. It's really hard to believe they'll resist the chance to insert even more sales channels on their hardware and try much harder to stop users removing them.
Probably irrelevant though. My gut feeling is Sony won't make another phone, just add the phone support into their other products. The Play was a total sales disaster till they effectively remaindered it - now flying off the shelves at £150-200 but hardly a high profit margin. Nice phones but no-one wants to pay the premium the Sony brand used to get. The competition is too sexy.
I had both the W800 and the K750, they were truly immense phones with incredible battery life. My k750 would drop down to a red bar battery within a couple of days, then stay there for another four at least.
The W800 i thought was lost forever when it fell out of my pocket at the top of stealth in Thorpe Park, I watched in horror as it plummeted all the way down to the gravel and concrete floor below... Until the day after when some kind employee phoned my land line off it to tell me it had been found and still worked!
Both phones sorely missed..
One thing that struck me about Sony Ericsson phones when the companies originally got together was that they appeared to have their design by Ericsson and their software by Sony (i.e. fugly and crashing all the time).
By the time I bought one (the Xperia X1) things had improved somewhat, but then they made the amazing decision to not allow Windows Mobile 6.5 onto the X1 (not officially, anyway) - effectively telling existing customers they could either get stuffed, or buy the X2.
There was then a much more favourable option of waiting a few months for the Desire Z from HTC (if you hadn't guessed, I like phones with real QWERTY keyboards!), with me in the meantime telling my friends to not bother with a company that never released even a minor update for a (at the time I got it) £500 handset.
A company that treated its customers with that much disdain frankly doesn't deserve to exist in the market today.
I don't know. In one hand, nothing beat the K850 camera, and the XPeria Neo is the smartphone to have if you also want to take decent pictures. They run android, so you'll always get the fastest, latest, greatest, either if Sony doesn't stumbles with upgrades or if you root them and install a 3rd party ROM. The hardware specs are nice. The whole Xperia line looks very nice and is up there with the Samsung and the HTC.
I just can't forget this is the same Sony that distributed rootkits with their CDs, and which removed 3rd party OS support from the PS3, even going after hackers using all legal (even if immoral) means available. Until now, one could say it was an independent division, a joint venture with Ericsson. Now one has to wonder if Sony will manage to ruin their smartphones business, which was now picking up again with the Xperia line.
Sony put the XCP DRM on the CD's because people pirated their CD's
Sony removed OtherOS because hackers were using it to hack open the system.
Sony sued a hacker because he intentionally posted an encryption key online with the sole intent of causing them financial hurt.
It seems to be, the freetards are upsets, because freetards got their comeuppance.....
XCP? assume no one pirates sony artists any more?, removing other OS forced users who buy newer hardware, or where stupid enought to update it, to hack it to run anything other than official OS, The encryption key debacle? is this the one you meant? 46 DC EA D3 17 FE 45 D8 09 23 EB 97 E4 95 64 10 D4 CD B2 C2.
Public relations never Sony's strong points, suprised no hackers took umbrage at there behaviour...oh wait!
"Sony put the XCP DRM on the CD's because people pirated their CD's
Sony removed OtherOS because hackers were using it to hack open the system."
Of course, the rootkit only targeted pirates didn't it ? Oh, and look, I've never pirated a PS3 game so my PS3 still has the Other OS option. Sony gave us flowery meadows and rainbow skies, and rivers made of chocolate, where the children danced and laughed and played with gumdrop smiles.
I had a pretty much unbroken run of Ericsson (and then SE) phones from the T18 to T28 to T68 (Ericsson branded, as per the photo, before Sony Ericsson ruined the colour!) and finally T610. The T610 was awesome (well, the built in camera was a bit ropey, but then most phones didn't have cameras at all at this point). It was small, simple, and great looking. The phones after that were a little disappointing (can't even remember the model numbers).
Then I got a P910i (the one with the vestigial but surprisingly usable keypad on the flip down bit). At the time a great smartphone -- good battery life, reasonably fast browsing (despite only being GPRS), and plenty of apps (albeit rather expensive compared to the App Store -- amazing what a bit of competition and scale can have on downward pricing pressures). Specs were well below the WinMob phones of the day, but it worked so much better.
It died on me before the much delayed (and ultimately disappointing) P990 came out. I didn't get that and settled for some almost entirely unusable (and poorly made -- I got through 3 or 4) Walkman slider thingy. None of their promised smartphones really measured up, and I didn't like the look of anyone else's products either, so stuck it out until the iPhone came out. Got one of those, and have never looked back.
If only SE had been able to build on the success of the P800/9x0, rather than making them worse. They could have been dominating the smartphone market today.
First Ericsson was an analog NH74 waay back in the mists of time. Stuck with Ericsson and then SE through the T610i (awesome bit of kit) until the W850i. The Walkman line just didn't seem quite there, in terms of software and user experience. All I wanted was a decent mobile with a camera good enough for snaps and a decent music player. For all the vaunted Walkman branding, the W850i just wasn't good enough as a music player, and in the end my music mobility came courtesy of an iPod 30Gb - the only Apple product I own. Hung on to the W850i for a couple of years, made a massive mistake with the Nokia XpressMusic 5800 and now am firmly in the HTC camp. Wouldn't buy a Sony phone on principle now. Shame really, SE should have built on the T610i.
> (and ultimately disappointing) P990
I had a P990i. Yes, the first firmware versions were a PITA, but Sony fixed most of the issues in later updates. The main problem of the P990i was the small RAM (64MB) which meant that there was not much room for many apps running concurrently.
> If only SE had been able to build on the success of the P800/9x0, rather than making them worse.
Well, I can say that the P1i (the successor of the P990i) I bought later was the best phone I ever had. Compact, reliable, (for that time) good camera), great keyboard, good touchscreen (resisitive, could be used with gloves on), and a stable OS (Symbian with UIQ interface) that was light on ressources but was also easy to use.
It's really a shame that Nokia has paired Symbian with their atrocious S60 user interface. Quartz (UIQ) was so much better in many ways and could have made Symbian able to compete with Android and iOS on a par level.
I had a K800i for ages. The thing was virtually indestructible, had a nice camera and decent battery life. All SE phones after that looked flimsy so I never bothered upgrading it. I only finally replaced it last year with a HTC Desire after it was dropped one time too many and the back started to fall off.
I have fond memories of Ericsson and then Sony Ericsson phones.
The T28 with stubby aerial.
The cute 610 with dodgy joystick and naff camera.
The wonderful (for its time) p800i.
The p910i with the keyboard only dwarves could use.
Some random k7xx that also had a dodgy joystick.
The throwaway bond-themed k800i. Great camera. Naff joystick... again :)
However, all instantly consigned to a trash can/charity when apple brought out the iPhone.
I have been preaching about how wrong Sony are getting it for some time now, purely cos I am gutted that a firm that produced such great devices can allow things to go so horribly wrong. But that they have done. The internal competition between departments in the company have ultimately led to this disjointed and uncompetitive position they find themselves in and frankly its going to take a monumental effort to steady the ship, never mind properly rival apple, HTC et al. Shame.
Another long-term SE user here - I got a T68i back in 2002, and went through a T610, K800i, C905 and finally an X10i before making the jump to HTC (for a Sensation) this year.
Unlike others, my phones just worked and worked (my T610 lasted about three years), and the only reason I moved to HTC was simply that the X10i wasn't powerful enough (and SE dragged their feet) to upgrade to future Android versions.
I'll happily consider another SE (Sony) phone in future, though. if a dual-core smartphone ever actually arrives...
I like(d) mid-range SE phones, still own one of them as my "work phone". It is always a relief when my main Android phone dies after a day and a half to use something with a decent battery life.
That said, if SE is no more, then whatever comes from Sony after this will never find its way into my possession. As someone else said before, I bought SE phones for the "Ericsson" part of the name. Sony is the only company in this field whose products I refuse to buy on principle, due to their recent (and not so recent) practices.
Too bad. It was fun while it lasted.
Back in 2005 I decided to buy my first cell phone - previous ones had been presents (and old Panasonic brick which I carried for a long time) and then a 'work phone' (cheap Nokia), this was the first time I was putting up my own money. Technically I didn't really need one, but loving tech toys I simply could not resist anymore.
So I went with the k750i, which in its segment was so far ahead of everything that it really seemed like a no-brainer. Usually I have to spend at least a few weeks comparing the pro's and cons of various models of the toy I intend to buy, but this time it was crystal clear.
I loved that phone so much, especially the - for the time - great camera with instant activation through the sliding lens lid. So when (after a very long night out) I dropped it in the sink, I just went out and bought another one - in the 6 months since I bought it nothing better had been released.
Another high point was the great looks (still looks cool today I think), which looking back now actually make it clear where Apple got its mustard for the iPhone 4 (have a look - it's plain to see).
Anyway, Sony by itself has been a longtime favourite brand of mine, however in recent years they have simply been disappointing. But there are signs that they are back to their old ways - some of their recent phones look pretty great, and their camera division is doing some really cool stuff (NEX, HX5V, the SLT series). So here's to hoping...
Not wishing to begin to sound like a sony fanboi but the w995 although limited with the apps new phones can use still does everything a modern phone really needs to do , Wifi, iPlayer, has GPS and maps and syncs all my contacts, email and calender with google.
it's now 3 years old hasn't broken down and had an 8mp camera with a flash before pretty much anything - it is a great little phone and lasts several days on a battery too. I agree though they did seem to lose there way more often than not.
Sad to see the end of the partnership - was rather a fan of these phones in the day.
Loved all of them from the T28 to the K800 stopping at the w910i and one of my favourites s700.
As a company they will be fondly remembered.
Great innovation for years but to be fair the iPhone came as a bit of an excession. I'm glad they've gone Android, but wonder who will now support the Xperia family of phones?
I've also had a few Sony/SE phones - I loved the P910 but kept wanting it to be faster with data, and the camera was hopeless. The wife and I had matching T68is for a while (I still have a clip on camera if anyone is interested?..... thought not)
Probably my favourite was a J7 with the fantastic jog wheel. Eventually handed to my sister it lasted at least 8 years before she managed to slam a car door on it. Most design (naturally) favours right handed people, but that phone was perfect for a leftie as the thumb sat perfectly on the wheel.
Ah, the power of nostalga!
Ericsson is a great company. Some of the smartest people I ever met work(ed) there. However it is often run more like a university. They never understood consumers. I remember when they were trying to sell grey phones, while Nokia sold removable covers. However it should of been better with Sony. However we did not realise that Sony was such a schizoid company, with each part fighting each other.
The world has moved on and Ericsson is better off out of it and retreating to their labs. Sony on the other hand, who knows what they will do, even Sony
Of the phones I have owned (up until I got the HTC Desire) the only two that I have any nostalgia about are my T29s and my T68i (the latter of which is somewhere hidden, sans charger, in a box of random stuff. Heck, it probably still works.) The T29 died the way they all seem to (the flip breaks off and even though you can mechanically put it back on, it kills the microphone,) and the T68 was perfectly functional, but had lost all the paint from its keypad, so having to guess at keys was proving fun. Until I picked up my desire, I never owned a phone I was happy with again, even though I went through three or four different manufacturers (Sharp gx29, Motorola Krap...err KRZR 1, briefly a Samsung Steel, and then the tragedy that was the Nokia 5800.)
I guess I'll miss the Ericsson part a little more than the Sony, though.
My two favourite phones were the W880i and the K700i. The UI was well laid out. The buttons felt good (especially the W880i). Unfortunately both have met their end (my son decided that the W880i needed a drink of water) so I am slumming it with an HTC Sensation - oh well.
Numerous times I tethered the W880i when my ADSL had gone down and using the browser to do the car registration on the way to the mechanic.
Just so I am not accused of being a total fanboi: the K700i sometimes crashed during a call, the browser on the W880i frequently crashed and Sony insisted on using their own crappy SD card format which cost $$$$$.
They used to be the cool phones back in 2004-2007. My first "colorful, internetty" handset was the W300i, which was the first phone I got that actually had music playback capability, AM/FM radio and an integrated camera. That phone is almost 5 years old, and it is still working! SE however blew it because they phased out the clamshell handsets. I refused to buy a "candybar" phone, I hated big phones until I got a Blackberry. At least I could do much more stuff on that one than a standard candybar phone.
SE failed to cash in on its huge market circa 2006, the whole slew of smartphones and the iBones took over its main market overnight. Sad for them.
I was still using a T68 up until last year. The reason I didn't get another one is I couldn't find one anywhere. It's just so easy to use. I can't deal with the nokia GUI, it's so clunky and awful to use. Farewell indeed. In their day they pushed boundaries but no point being in the race anymore, they stopped innovating ages ago trying to copy others and even failing at that.
The P910 was just brilliant. I used it for a long time with tom tom on it and a gps receiver I got really cheap from ebay. Perfect size for the pocket. Very themable and I had a nifty app to send messages to anyone silly enough to leave bluetooth on all the time with no security.
Msn ran perfect with a 3rd party program as well and a fantastic Zx Spectrum emulator.
I eventually sold it to get a Palm T3 hooked up to a WM6 handset before moving on to Android.
I was lucky that I worked for a phone company who provided my P910 for free.
Wish I'd kept it.
Two out of the three phones in the photos were ones I actually bought. I loved my Z5, and I had the full car kit for it in my company Golf. Sold it when I got my P800, which was a bit big, and didnt survive an encounter with a stone floor; large screen crack and not economic to repair. Still have it though; keep thinking I should recycle it.
Went to a Moto after that (Z3), then a Nokia N95, before settling on an iPhone 3GS, which has lasted longer than any of them, although the case is starting to crack on the back.
up until a couple of years back, I'd had:
Ericsson GA628 (first mobile!)
They were all pretty good. The T68 was the most fragile, really. The P990 is still working, but the flip keyboard long since died, which is a pity.
Now I have an iPhone 3GS with the mophie Juice pack, and I too still long for a week's battery life... SE spent a long time proving Symbian would run on a dual-processor smartphone with good battery life, it's a real pity symbian is dead as the core of it would give us all some advantages there. Then again, the programming environment is bobbins.
Interested in your last comment about Sony not really being able to do any better than Panasonic did. I worked from them from 1999 to 2006 in Thatcham, and the big problem there was simply that Japanese management didn't have a bloody clue about the european market, and our management were too gutless to canvas to turn our site into a centre of european design.
It's possible to be a geographic division of a japanese company and make something with vision - the Panasonic Atlanta guys proved that, their schmoozing and handshaking made sure their site developed Panasonic's only S60 clamshell, but alas! their implementation was shocking and the thing fell apart.
Moral is - if Sony will let their european handset division have free rein to produce something wonderful, it'll do well. If they treat their new toy like an errant son like Matsushita did to Panasonic in Thatcham, it'll suffer the death of a thousand cuts as the timid accounts in Japan notice the profits falling off.
C'mon Sony, prove that you think Gaijin can actually do the job. Give em a chance. You might just find yourself with a winner.
I have up until my HTC Desire, had nothing but SE handsets and they were all wonderful with the odd issue here and there but not enough to put me off the brand, I only moved as Android was just too tempting and at the time SE weren't offering me an option so I took the Desire on el regs' advice!
I still have them all and use them when I know I am going to be away for a few days without power where the Desire wont do more than 2 days the SE's will all do a week!
Bought second-hand from a colleague (who always liked to have an up-to-date mobile), to replace a K750i whose joystick had begun to misbehave (it always responded well to a spray of Servisol, but the can ruined the line of my pockets .....) To be honest, there wasn't much of a difference between the two save the different-shaped navigation device and the lack of a lens cover. Both let you use microphone recordings as ringing tones.
It's now carrying a Tesco PAYG SIM, and seeing occasional use in places where I wouldn't dare take my HTC Desire HD.
I was sucked in by the hype of the SE Watch.
I didn't have it for very long and sold it on eBay.
It was too big and bulky, weighed a lot, needed charging often and when my phone rang I just took my phone out and didn't look at the dial.
Nice idea though, not executed with much grace.
I had T68i, including the camera add on I picked up cheap on eBay, followed by a P800 which outlasted the contract, finally succumbing when it hit a car park floor. In the end I went back to Nokia following its demise until the iPhone 3G came out. No intention of moving to anything else now.
They announced this the day after I bought a sony Ericsson phone (Elm) off of ebay , cheap natch but not bad at all. Presumably this was somehow the straw that broke the camel's back.
Meanwhile, Is it really possible that they provided it with an application called “tracker” so you can log your times and routes for outdoors sports activities, as well as compare to previous times, include lap functions etc, then they made it impossible to lock the keypad while this app is running? I hope I'm missing something obvious....
Back before Sony even got in on the act. Since then I've had one non-SE phone (which I hated).
I had a P900 and it was excellent. I could text and email using the handwriting recognition from inside my pocket - no phone I've used since has been able to do that. Then I had an S700 and it rewrote the rules about how good a camera in a phone could be - something SE keep doing with each generation, it seems: I've printed photos from my C905 at 18*12" and people haven't believed they've come from a phone. I have a friend who had a t610 from launch until *last year*
I think my favourite was the T38. It was so incredibly teeny, and the little flippy thing was so much fun. Answering the phone was like being in a sci-fi film.
I don't usually do brand loyalty, but SE have consistently made the best - for my requirements - handsets around. I'd jump ship in a moment if someone else made something I liked more, but that hasn't happened yet. I hope Sony can keep up the standard.