Sony Ericsson Targets Youth with New Phones

Sony Ericsson launched four new mobile phones today targeting the youth and mid-markets. Analysts said this is a smart move by the handset maker.

The S600, Z520, W600 and J210 expand the company’s portfolio of 3G handsets and offers a broader range of low-cost phones.

Jupiter Research wireless analyst Julie Ask told TechNewsWorld that she sees an interesting thread in the Sony announcements: the ability to move music from the PC to the phone.

“This is interesting because the carriers aren’t going to make money from this feature and are less likely to subsidize the device,” Ask said. “But the ability to move music directly from the PC to the phone is exactly what consumers want. This is a positive feature for Sony phones.”

Appealing to Teens

Sony is making a concerted effort to speak the language of the young with two of its new cellphone models. The S600 and the Z520 both play to the personalities of users aged 13-24.

The S600 offers young users multiple ways to communicate, with voice, text, photo and video capabilities. The phone supports instant messaging and photo printing. Widescreen mode appeals to gamers by allowing games to be placed with the screen horizontal. And a packaged headset is designed to offer users stereo sound.

“We have gone all out to provide excellent communication including Internet browsing, great music with stereo speakers, sensational widescreen gaming, quality still imaging and video capturing and loads of personalization options,” said Jan Wreby, corporate executive, vice president and head of sales and marketing at Sony Ericsson. “The phone will appeal to young adults with busy social lives and a desire to express themselves in multiple ways.”

Wreby said the Z520 will also appeal to the younger generation with a smooth, sleek body design and small size. The Z520 is appealing to young girls’ fashion sense with personalized color schemes. The phone also includes a digital camera for pictures and video clips, along with voice and text capabilities.

Let the Stats Speak

Jupiter Research statistics demonstrate that 18- to 24-year-olds prize text messaging above all other features. Forty-eight percent said this was the most important feature when considering a cell phone purchase. Text messaging was followed closely by the ability to download ringtones (44 percent).

“Sony is hitting the younger market’s need to personalize,” Ask said. “Twenty-nine percent of this age group wants to be able to download new graphics and screensavers. That’s also a personalization affect.”

Only 24 percent said the ability to play music was important, but 25 percent said e-mail features were a consideration. Twenty-six percent want a small form factor and 33 percent want a large screen, two opposing features.

Leveraging Company Heritage

Sony’s second Walkman mobile phone, the W600, can handle phone calls while its user is listening to digital music, capture digital images and video and play a 3D game or access the Internet and e-mail.

“The W600 is an exciting new product leveraging the heritage of our parent companies and demonstrates the vision when we combined Sony and Ericsson,” said Miles Flint, president of Sony Ericsson Mobile Communications.

Finally, the J210 is a designed as a straightforward device for every day use. The phone features a large keypad with a joystick and a bright color screen, along with practical feautres like a personal calendar and alarm clock.

“The J210 is for practical phoners who value simplicity and reliability,” said Wreby. “This is a straightforward, stylish and thoroughly modern phone that offers great value for money and further extends Sony Ericsson’s range of entry level phones.”

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