Sony unveils its first Walkman phone

Sony Ericsson announced its first mobile under the Walkman brand – the W800.

Sony unveils its first Walkman phone

This is Sony Ericsson’s bid to convince consumers that a mobile phone really can be a useful and high-quality music player, boasting a 512MB Memory Stick card included, 30 hours battery life when used as a music player (as opposed to a phone), quality accessories such as the included headset and a decent software suite for managing music both on the device and through a PC.

Mike Pauwels, Senior Global Product Manager said: ‘In the past two years we’ve concentrated on making the mobile phone a good camera. Now we’re doing the same for music.’

He said the W800 would ‘establish the mobile phone as a credible mobile player,’ and described it as ‘a new category of device,’ signifying a ‘new lifestyle behaviour’.

Although it has but half a GB of memory out of the box, the company will initially market the W800 as a phone that one can transfer their music collection onto, in the same way much higher capacity devices such as the iPods, are used. However, this year will also see W800 hooking into Sony’s SonyConnect online music store, designed for downloading the odd track as and when desired.

The company says it is committed to supporting open standards in music – ie MP3 and AAC rather than Sony’s proprietary ATRAC 3 format. However, this isn’t the case for memory cards. Sony’s proprietary Memory Stick is the only type of flash storage you’ll be using with the W800.

The W800 also offers PIM functionality, a 2 megapixel camera with autofocus and support for Java games plus a 65k colour screen.

Price-wise the phone will be in the mid to high range, although final say will rest with the operators. The W800 is a triple-band 900/1800/1900 MHz phone and will be available in the third quarter of this year.

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