Idou becomes Satio: still high risk for Sony Ericsson

by Caroline Gabriel, ReThink Wireless

For all the risks of ditching its iconic Walkman and Cybershot brands, Sony Ericsson seems determined to plow ahead rapidly, and has introduced the phone that is to underpin its move into integrated media services; the Satio (formerly known as the Idou).

Despite the change of name, the Symbian-based Satio has the same heavy burden on its shoulders as it did when it was previewed at Mobile World Congress in February.

It is designed to merge the Cybershot cameraphone and Walkman musicphone concepts in a single device, and come tightly integrated with Sony Ericsson’s unlimited content download subscription service, Entertainment Unlimited. As such, it is competing directly with Apple and with the handsets that support Nokia’s Comes With Music and Ovi Store platforms, with the flagship N97 and other Nokia devices due to hit the market soon.

The Satio will be on sale in the fourth quarter in Europe, though carrier and pricing details are, as usual, absent so far. It has some stand out features, notably the 12.1 megapixel camera, though arguably this would be better marketed under the familiar Cybershot brand.

Said Fredrik Mansson, market business manager at Sony Ericsson: “With Satio you can enjoy any form of entertainment anytime, anywhere. Whether its music or movies you will never be more than a tap away from your favourite tracks or shows.”

Meanwhile, Sony Ericsson may never have achieved a PlayStation Portable handset, which many believe would have transformed its shaky fortunes, but it has introduced the Aino, which includes connectivity to the Sony Playstation games console.

Aino also introduces Media Home, an app that automatically pulls content from Media Go on the PC, over WiFi, to the phone, syncing up when the Aino is inserted in its charging stand. Aino also comes with an 8.1 megapixel camera, quad-band GSM and triband HSPA, and a range of colors.

Keeping the games phone separate from Satio suggests that SEMC is not ready, yet, to integrate all the main mobile content formats in one platform, though a gaming-focused device would certainly have more impact with the PSP logo on it.

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