Samsung Galaxy Note. First Look
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3GSM congress. Sony Ericsson introduces new handsets or the upgrowth continues
Sony Ericsson has gradually begun widening its product line by introducing low-end models in the first place. These devices completely lack WOW-effect, but are essential, since they generate sales by the pieces. The first model in the row is J100i, which is going to be offered on all markets at minimal price and is aimed at becoming an alternative for the similar devices of Nokia, Siemens, Motorola. The low-end market share is getting extremely competitive, as the manufacturers are reducing the expenses from day to day, introducing cheaper solutions, even when the price would seem to hit the very bottom and can’t go any lower. But Sony Ericsson didn’t make attempts to reduce prices, thus its low-end models aren’t a big success. The wholesale price for Sony Ericsson J100i handset is set on the level of 49 Euros, so it can be considered as some kind of replacement for withdrawing Sony Ericsson T290i. However the model has higher cost than alternatives from Siemens and Motorola, in fact this won’t let it achieve top of the sales charts at the start. But due to lack of these solutions in general it will be in demand. Later on this product is destined to become the most massive model of Sony Ericsson. To mention the features, the handset has the menu made in Nokia’s style – one icon and its caption are displayed on the screen at once, STN-screen with 96õ64 pixels resolution. The phone is hitting the shelves of retail stores in the end of April – beginning of May.
The second device, which was introduced at the congress, was Sony Ericsson K610i, the first out of the 3G handsets, representing Step3 (the title of Sony Ericsson’s third generation of phones). The model is powered by the same solutions as Sony Ericsson W810i, but differs from it due to featuring Memory Stick Micro support. These flashcards, which have up to 1Gb of storage (in theory they can reach the maximum of 40 Gb) are not widely spread at present. They have wittingly higher price than common Memory Stick Pro Duo, which in addition have lost in price recently. The package includes a 64Mb memory card, while the user can operate with around 21 Mb of the built in memory. Like the majority of 3G-devices, the model has a frontal VGA-camera, used for video calls. The module of a standard 2 mpx camera coincides with the same in K750i. When talking about interesting innovations, one can note support of various sound codecs, including e-AAC+. The built in sequencer has 72 tones, which is not typical for the present-day products. The new set of instruments provides good playback quality for midi tunes and is required for sound effects in games. Profiles are also supported here, even the one with the network part turned off - it’s a big step forward, since this solution hadn’t been featured anywhere before, but in the Walkman series. As compared to W810i, the mail client got improved; the support of M-IMAP (Push Mail) got added as well. The model has a number of adjustments concerning the interface and single functions, though it is still armed with the same UI as W810i. Among all other things, activation of 3D-accelerator in the commercial version of the device is a controversial question, though it was initially announced. But similar to the W900i case, there are no special games, that would use it and moreover, displays with the resolution lower than QVGA don’t require its presence in most of the cases.
The release date of this model is scheduled for the second quarter 2006, approximately the beginning of May. Right after the release it will cost around 400 Euros. The device is aimed at competing with such solutions as Nokia 6233, but has less capacity in some functions. This handset won’t play the role of the leading model. The top product, which is going to be released in September-October, and promised to be really interesting. Starting from this, the company let its engineers create Ê610 not only in silver color, but in variegate red as well. On the whole the model can attract one’s interest, though it won’t bring anything new to the owners of Sony Ericsson K750i/W800i, since it is just one more renovation of W810i. By the way the latter two models are almost full analogues of each other with rather slight differences.
The last model in the list of the devices being under development got the title of Nina, though its name for commercial sales is W950i. This is the fist musical smartphone in Sony Ericsson’s product line. The model is based on the same platform as Sony Ericsson P990 and Sony Ericsson M600, though stays closer to the latter one, as there are neither a built in camera nor a camera for video calls – the handset is developed mostly for playing back music. Specially for the given model, the company created a new player which can be controlled either by a console or by using the screen (iPOD style). The device is targeted at those consumers who prefer to use only one device for music playback. According to the developer’s plan, the handset is going to become an intermediate solution between inexpensive musical products and such high-end ones as Nokia N91. Unlike the latest model, the memory pool is now capable of storing up to 4 Gb of data, though it has the form of flashmemory. The device doesn’t consume much energy and possesses the optimal battery life time. The main con of the model is the absence of memory card extension slot - the functionality got reduced even in this way.
At the beginning the phone will have only a dark color solution, Mystic Purple, though later on it will receive various appearances: Ceramic White (very similar to iPOD, that's why the model is going to be firstly released in a different color). The handset itself is slim and wide at the same time. The package includes a standard Walkman headset, which can be replaced by a stereo Bluetooth-handset HBH-DS970. In the end, lack of camera seems to be the only considerable disadvantage of the device so far, though in the following editions of the product it is more likely to be featured since there is some reserved space on the body. The model is scheduled for release in the end of July, with the starting price of 650-700 Euros (of course it may vary, but will rather go down than rise). Taking into account the fact this device is aimed at music playback, it features a great package, so one can consider it as a new rival of Nokia N91. Hesitation in releasing the device has turned against Nokia as now it has a clear alternative. Sony Ericsson is going to introduce at least two more models based on W950i, the first one featuring two cameras and the other one is more likely to surprise us with memory extension slots, since it's supposed to compete with the devices targeted at video playback.
Published 13 February 2006
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