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Sony Ericsson W902 – it should’ve been cancelled
What is a music playing flagship phone these days? Many put sound quality above all other things, since decent sonic experience can’t be delivered by a phone’s default processor and a handful of software enhancements, such as equalizers. To make a true music playing marvel you’ll need a dedicated DSP that will handle the audio department or at least an amplifier that will also make things look significantly better. However, Sony Ericsson has a different point of view with its Walkman line-up and probably thinks its competitors are into some nonsense with dedicated audio processors. This way, Nokia really shouldn’t arm its XpressMusic phones with the AIC33 chip – it only beefs up the tab and very few will actually appreciate the quality it delivers, which is a bit of an excess for a secondary feature like music. For some reason Samsung also focus on music, but it’s some sort of mistake too, apparently.
Another question that still remains unanswered, is whether a handset needs a 3.5mm jack or not in 2008. But then users will be able to user custom earphones and will figure out the difference in audio quality! So no, 3.5mm aren’t welcome in mobile phones. Interestingly, on some markets original Sony Ericsson’s accessories are incredibly thin on the ground – for instance, in Russia after spending just shy of 200 USD I still don’t have an original headset. Indeed, three are tons of pretty good fakes out there, but that’s about it – stuff like this goes for a couple of bucks in China, here they sell it for 50. Nice business!
The thing they are really banking on is that the W902 is a music-playing solution with whole 8 Gb of memory onboard. But what they keep mum on is that this phone runs good old A200 and carries around 152 Mb of memory. So these hyped 8Gb will come from a memory card packaged with the handset, which is a pretty good move, that counters a similar offering from Nokia whose release is slotted for the same time (although it hasn't been announced yet).
The W902’s camera module is nothing to write home about, as it has been carried over from the Sony Ericsson C902 along with auto-focus and LED flash. Its 2.2-inch display is pretty decent and doesn’t get washed out in the sun. But the real question is price – retailing for 330 Euro at the minimum, the W902 will be a dead weight for the maker's portfolio. And the reason for that is pretty simple – that Nokia-branded phone will offer more punch for the same money: 3.5mm audio jack, dedicated DSP inside and an 8Gb memory card in the box along with a remote controls and Maps application. So I don’t really get it – what’s the point of stealing ideas from other phones that are obviously better than the W902. If you have picked up something, then go ahead, enhance it and sell for the same money. All in all, I’m supremely disappointed – Sony Ericsson is turning into an imitator, although it wasn’t that long ago when they were at the cutting edge of the industry. A pity, but it shouldn’t come as a surprise.
P.S. If some of you think that I’m being harsh in this write-up – you are spot on. I just can’t stand what they have done to one of the market’s finest line-up in no time after 5 years of development and hard work. They had a wake-up call back in 2007. Apparently, they didn’t hear it.
Published 16 July 2008
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