A turning point?

I just read a report that kind of pains me yet has me excited at the same time.  Apparently, Sony Ericsson isn’t doing too well.  According to a very reliable online source (a guy who gets basically every prototype unit from every company several months before release), all of SEs phones from now to at least April 2009 aren’t cutting the mustard.

In the last quarter, SE has fallen from fourth to fifth largest phone manufacturer, losing out to LG of all companies.  Kind of embarrassing.

They also just barely broke even in the finances.  That means no profit.  But they’re not in the hole…yet.

According to the source—whose Web site is here—SE is in a serious rut as of late and doesn’t have any signs of getting out.  Even the C905, a phone I was looking forward to possibly getting, will probably fall victim.

It’s too bad, really.  I like SE, but I agree that they seem to be on the wrong track and no one seems to know exactly what the problem is.  Part of the problem, I think, is SE’s insistence on the “advantages and disadvantages” system of phone building.  They have Walkmans and Cyber-shots, and they don’t like the features of either to mix.  That means crappy cameras on the Walkmans and sub-par music players on the Cyber-shots.  For power users like me who demand high-tech perfection in everything, this is kind of frustrating (moreso since SE has said one of the reasons for the financial issues is lack of high-end phones).  The Cyber-shots have the edge, technologically, but are too expensive for a lot of people, so they don’t sell as much.  (And their camera quality has steadily gone down hill in the past few years, and SE, which was the undisputed camera phone king, has lost to Nokia for the past two years.)

As a result of breaking even and not making profit, this leaves even less money to churn out powerful devices because such things require a lot of resources to design and develop (and build when the time comes).  And when SE has said lack of a high-end is one of the reasons for the money problems, this does not bode well at all and has the potential to snowball.

On the other hand, Nokia has been and probably always will be the #1 manufacturer in the world, with something like 40% or more of the global market.  That’s HUGE.  They have more than ample resources to make a high-quality, bleeding-edge phone once per week if necessary.  They have money coming out of their ears and people know they have the goods to deliver.

To combat the C905, Nokia is going to do something very sneaky.  A day before SE’s phone is released in September-October, Nokia will not only announce but also release their 8 MP camera phone, which is expected to be of higher quality all-around since Nokia has apparently spent a lot of time tweaking the optics and software.

I’ve got to give Nokia props.  Their phones—their high-tech phones, mind you, since they make a large number of low-end stuff too—mean business.  Very rarely do they mess around.  Whereas SE often struggles to put a screen larger than 2.2 inches on their phones, Nokia was making phones with 5 MP cameras, WiFi, GPS, and gobs of other features almost two years before anyone else even thought of it.

Another thing in Nokia’s favor is that they aren’t afraid of mainstream stuff either.  They use microSD and 3.5mm headphone jacks and other things one can easily find in a store, whereas SE relies completely on proprietary Sony-made stuff that is very difficult to find and often more expensive.

So I’m kind of confused at this point.  Do I go with SE, where I see potential but maybe not for another year or two down the road, or do I go with Nokia, which has the goods in the here and now and shows no signs of letting down?

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3 Responses

  1. I want a camera phone with xenon flash, and i saw lots of test pics… nokia’s n82 rocks, the sony faired well, but only in daylight.

  2. The N82 is indeed awesome. I can’t wait to play with one at the Nokia Experience store in Vegas next week.

    There are apparently two more Xenon flash models coming out of Nokia this year—and it wouldn’t surprise me if their 8 MP phone is one of them.

  3. I agreed with you

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