Touted by Sony Ericsson executives as the "Second most anticipated music phone coming to the market" Sony Ericsson launched the W880 Walkman phone at a launch event in London.
Sony Ericsson is hoping the bright orange or satin black W880 will quash any thoughts mobile phone users will have of jumping ship away from the Walkman brand, but does the new Walkman phone have what it takes? We had a quick play with the new handset.
First thing you'll notice is that it's thin. Not Samsung thin mind you, but thin enough that it is bound to get a few ooohs and arhs when you whip it out down the pub. At 9.4mm thick its thinner than a CD case, but still not anywhere near thin enough to claim "World's thinnest", however if the thinness doesn't get you, the stainless steel top half casing probably will and following the Motorola KRAZR the back is coated in a rubbery magic material that is neither smooth or sticky.
The stainless steel frontage helps give the phone a much needed strength and our initial bend test got nowhere (with the Samsung 820 you see it flex like a piece of cardboard).
Design and buttons have been kept to a minimum - no not Apple iPhone minimum, and the keypad's buttons are very similar to the W810's only thinner. We personally found them like the K550's prickly, however other journalists we talked to at the event seemed to like them.
Somehow, and we aren't sure how, Sony Ericsson has managed to cram a lot into the device. Virtually half the size of the W810, there is the 2 megapixel camera on the back (although no flash) and 3G connectivity to get you started. Of course Bluetooth comes as standard and music storage wise there is a 1GB card in the box for good measure that allows you to store around 900 tracks.
Being small and thin, the phone relies on a good amount of software to impress. The phone features the new Walkman 2.0 music software found on last years dog of a phone the W850 - oh how 6 months can make such a difference - that gives you features like album art and the ability to buy tracks online if your operator supports it and its also got TrackID - Sony Ericsson's Shazam clone. There is also the company's very good Blogger software tool so you can blog your life without a PC.
Although you can use any headphones you like, you will still have to use Sony's connecting wire through the power cable and this means you won't be able to listen and charge at the same time.
Although we weren't able to test it, Sony Ericsson are claiming 18 hours of battery life.
This isn't Sony Ericsson comeback to the Apple's announcement and the phone in its styling and offering is far from it.
When questioned at the press conference about the threat from Apple, Sony Ericsson executives avoided the question stating that it as a company offers a wide range of options for a wide range of customers.
For a company that has sold over 15 million music focused phones you can see that they as a company aren't too fussed about a computer manufacturer deciding to invade their turf.
On our first glance the W880 looks to be a well polished phone that certainly has the wow factor along with a bit of retro styling thrown in for good measure. It's solid stuff from our Swedish friends and with a launch date of the end of the month you won't have to wait long before you get to see it in the flesh.
It's main contender? The Nokia n95. It might be a little bigger in size, but with a 5 megapixel camera and GPS built in it's going to be a tough one to beat.
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