Japanese-Swedish handset JV Sony Ericsson is continuing to plough ahead with its strategy for specialist dual-usage phones. This morning the fifth placed handset OEM announced the launch five new handsets included among which are the world’s first 8.1 megapixel camera phone and a dedicated gaming device featuring motion sensor technology. Other terminals in the summer collection include two new entry-level devices and a point and click camera phone.

It wasn’t all that long ago that Sony Ericsson’s high-end feature phone strategy was paying dividends. The firm, much admired following the formation of the JV in 2001, has a handset portfolio held in high esteem by consumers and analysts alike. Times change, though, earlier this year – according to Gartner – SE slipped into fifth place behind South Korea’s LG.

The JV’s strategy for taking Sony’s successful consumer electronics brand names Cyber-shot and Walkman into the mobile phone arena have come under threat recently, not least of all by Apple and its much-hyped iPhone. Sony Ericsson’s new C905 Cyber-shot 8.1 megapixel camera phone looks like a direct competitor to LG’s highly-praised 5 megapixel Viewty. While the F305 with Motion Gaming looks to be tapping into Sony’s video games heritage and the recent surprise success of Nintendo’s Wii console.

“I think it’s good to see the gaming device as this is an area that SE has not addressed much in the past,” Gartner’s Carolina Milanesi told telecoms.com. “I have always thought SE was leading the imaging market until Nokia came out with the n82. it is good to see SE take the lead again with an 8.1 megapixel camera. It will be interesting to see how the product compare as there is more than megapixels that you need to have a good camera.”


Undoubtedly, the high spec phones will be grabbing all the headlines in developed markets. But the phones that are likely to shift more units in booming emerging markets are the two new entry-level devices. The launch of the J132 and K330 demonstrate that Sony Ericsson recognises that it must change tack slightly and broaden its portfolio if it wants to reclaim the a top four spot.


“I think the lower end products are a good offering and should help SE drive sales in emerging markets. In mature markets I think SE should concentrate in revamping its design and user interface. Although from a technology standpoint these products look competitive enough the design seems a bit dated and we know how important the fashion element is in today’s market,” said Milanesi.


Moving back up the handset charts will be all the trickier in light of the news that LG has just appointed SE’s former global director of brand management, Andrew Warner, as its new marketing director.

“LG is a company with a diverse and category leading product portfolio, which gives it the potential to become a leading brand in this market. The exciting challenge of building a marketing team capable of realising that potential was too attractive to turn down. In this role, I will be looking at making our brand approach coherent and consistent – shedding the cliche’s of technology communication to focus on being accessible, aspirational, distinctive and relevant to people across the UK and Ireland,” said Warner.