The canapés might have been scoffed, but the UK launch of the latest offerings from Sony Ericsson more than made up for it.
Riding high on the success of the W800i ‘Walkman' phone Sony Ericsson's latest launch combines not only the Walkman brand, but 3G connection UMTS speeds as well.
Codenamed ‘Sakura', until the point-of-launch, the W900 has a larger body than the W800. The handset is hinged in a manner reminiscent of the S600, which launched in the UK market as the W550. Where as the W550 articulated by a hinge at the bottom allowing in the phone to be opened-up to either 90 or 180 degrees, the W900's hinge is sprung so that a light flick will cause the top section to revolve to the full 180 degrees to reveal the keyboard.
Features to concentrate on are the whopping 470Mb internal memory. When questioned on this somewhat arbitrary number Sony Ericsson revealed that there is actually half a Gb onboard, but the internal OS requires 30Mb to function, so the user gets the remainder. There is also the obligatory Memory Stick Duo port, meaning you can expand the memory up to 2.5Gb, increasing to 4.5Gb in the New Year with larger sticks coming to market.
The 3G UMTS connection speed has been coupled with dual cameras to allow video calling. The top left of the screen houses a small VGA camera while the reverse of the body houses a monstrous 2.0 megapixel camera. Following on the design of the W750i there is a dedicated shutter release on the top edge of the body, although the camera will only function when the handset is closed-up. The camera included auto-focus and a ultra-bright illuminating LED and in video mode can capture footage at 30 Fps.
A new music navi-key has been added to the front of the body, sitting above the swiveling hinge. This resembles the controls on an MP3 player and is dual-function to access the phone's menus and operate the Walkman playback functions. The alpha-numeric keyboard has also been redesigned making the orange backlit keys sturdier.
Available in both black and white colour schemes, both come with the HPM-80 hands-free remote control, compete with LCD screen to display track and artist information.
An interesting additional launch, and worth a mention, is the MMR-60 which is Sony Ericsson Walkman branded dedicated FM transmitter. This attaches to any handset equipped with a ‘Fast-port' connector and broadcasts music short ranges to be picked up and played through any standard radio receivers, exactly like the once-illegal Griffin iTrip.
Overall then a promising offering, that we are keen to get our hands on for a longer play.