Gartner yawns at Sony Ericsson Walkman phones

Sony Ericsson introduced its W902, W595 and W302 Walkman phones this week.

During the launch, the company’s Ben Padley, Head of music, said: “Since the launch of our first Walkman phone in 2005, Sony Ericsson has continued to pioneer a superior mobile music experience – and the 77 million Walkman phones sold to date are testament to this commitment.”

Analysts at Gartner aren’t convinced the company’s really doing enough to see off the threat from ever-cheaper, consumerr-focused smartphones, as players such as BlackBerry, Nokia and Apple move into the music device space.

Carolina Milanesi, research director at Gartner, told IT World: “I think Sony Ericsson needs to revamp its portfolio. Imaging and music are now offered by everybody and on the application side GPS and browsing are getting hotter. It needs to make sure they have a rich offer there too if they want to remain competitive.” The analyst also thinks the company must improve the design and user interface of its phones.

Padley thinks different, saying, “With this latest range of phones and accessories, we are offering high quality sound and a rich feature set that cements our position as a leader in the music phone category. We are pushing the boundaries of what people think is possible and are offering best-in-class sound quality and our most exciting Walkman phones to date.”

The new devices are set to ship in the fourth quarter, though it’s not really clear if consumers, with their expectations now raised by smartphone makers, will lap the new mobiles up.

Feature check
– W902: 5MP camera with 30fps video/ M2 memory card slot/ 8GB cap.
– W595: Stereo speakers built-in (so you know which company to shoot next time you have to endure sugar-candy r&b when you’re sitting on the bus)/Bluetooth/3.2MP camera/ FM Radio/ storage 2GB
– W302: 10.5mm thick/ 2MP camera/ FM Radio/ TrackID/ 512MB Memory Stick Micro (M2)/ uploads images to blogs/ PictBridge compatible.
– Both the W595 and the W902 support HSDPA, W302 offers EDGE.

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