Sony Ericsson – credible camera maker?
New camera phones aim to bridge perception gap
Would you list Sony in your top five names of camera makers? Sony Ericsson just launched a bunch of camera phones which depend (they say) on the consumer's recognition of this as a genuine camera brand. The new phones, which will roll out over the next nine months, almost all have "dual fronted" design. One side is a phone; but turn it over, and it's a camera.
The concept looks good, because it means that you hold the camera in a camera style: with two hands. It also means that when you turn the new S700 over and press the "camera" button, the user interface changes from phone to picture taking. Company president Katsumi Ihara and executive vice president Jan Wäreby recently took the opportunity to get to grips with two new models, as shown on the left. Wäreby has the EDGE Z500 while Ihara demonstrates the S700's swivel-format design.
Where they company faces something of a perception gap, however, is in its belief that it needs "credibility" as a camera supplier.
The point is this: if you saw a phone on a shelf, and it was branded "Nikon" you would probably assume it had a quality camera in it. Perhaps if it said "Canon" you'd make the same assumption, or similarly for "Fuji" on the box. But would you see the "Sony" label as saying "Camera-maker"?
Possibly, if you are a video camera user. But in stills cameras, the few people who are aware of Sony as a brand name will probably also be aware of an expensive and embarrassing product recall on their top-of-range digital camera.
And what of operating software? Well, President Katsumi Ihara has said that there were "negotiations" to secure the future of Symbian...