Following on the success of Sony Ericsson’s Walkman music mobiles comes another assault into Sony’s brand vault - the Cyber-shot camera phone.
This shows incredibly good thinking on the company’s behalf, for while the Cyber-shot brand doesn’t quite have the same resonance in the digital camera market that the Walkman has for portable music, it still has a ring of quality to it.
As does the first handset in the range, the K800, which we were lucky enough to briefly get our grubby mitts onto at the launch event.
First impressions were very, very good, and while we initially scoffed at the idea of leaving our holiday memories in the hands of a phone rather than a camera we left thinking that we could be convinced. Or that we might not panic if we only had one of these in our pocket when we came through passport control.
The headline feature here is obviously the 3.2 megapixel resolution, which is way up there with digital cameras from a couple of years ago, and well up to printing on standard 6x4 paper. The 2-inch 262k colour LCD display also appeared to do the business, although we were indoors and would like to see how it performs in the bright sunshine.
On the software side, we loved the BestPic mode, which promises to banish the days of missing the moment. It constantly takes images as soon as you auto-focus the K800, and lets you choose between the four before you press the shutter release, the four after, and the moment you actually do the deed. We even got beyond our irritation at constantly being told that we could take pictures from the past (!), to actually agree that this is a good feature.
Another great feature was the tie-in with Google-owned Blogger. With this handset you can create instant blogs at the touch of only a few buttons and the minimum of fuss - we can’t wait to give it a go.
There were some things missing though, most notably a Carl Zeiss lens, which is a hallmark of Cyber-shot cameras, and has actually appeared on the Nokia N90 camera phone - very strange. This is bad news because anyone that’s played with digital cameras knows that megapixels are only a part of the story when it comes to images quality.
Still, our first all-too-brief encounter with the K800 was very promising, especially as Sony Ericsson hadn't forgotten the phone part of the package either, with Bluetooth, tri-band connectivity, web browsing, even an MP3 player and FM radio! We can't wait for the Sony Ericsson PlayStation games mobile, or maybe even the Sony Ericsson Aibo pet phone.