Sony Ericsson M600 Review
The success of BlackBerry’s solutions has become a guiding line for many manufacturers, which have already taken a note of such solutions. Against the background of the growing popularity of these devices, the success has accompanied not the original BlackBerry, but smartphones armed with QWERTY-keypad, since they provided a completely new level of functionality and handling aspects. While the market of handsets equipped with a QWERTY-keypad wasn’t too large, even back then it was already developed enough, so one couldn’t ignore its tendencies. At present, the top 5 manufacturers propose this kind of phones, including smartphones. For example, Nokia offers one of these devices, which represents Eseries, Motorola features similar solutions in the framework of their A-series (not introduced into the European market, available only for the US and Asian markets), former Siemens mobile division has SK65 as a single device of that line-up. This list can be extended even further, but it’s more interesting to peek in their popularity statistics. At a first glance, if this many models have been introduced into various markets, they are in demand. But having a closer look you’ll realize that all this variety conceals only one undeniable fact – perpetual competition of smartphones (to be more precise, communicators, though the terminology doesn’t give a plain definition) and common handset with widened functionality. It’s obvious, that in smartphones a keyboard is vital since they offer capacities of working with mail and other similar services, although arming a standard device with a full-fledged keypad occurs due to two reasons. The former and the core one – possibility of drawing attention of a more conservative audience’s part, which seem to be afraid of relatively new technologies. This share of potential buyers is quite considerable, for them purchasing a smartphone is not essential, especially in light of the fact they will have to get used to a new platform. Yet the most distinctive difference between QWERTY-equipped handsets and “all-round standard” phones is exactly presence of this keypad. It’s a kind of vicious circle, which strongly affects sales of QWERTY-devices, which eventually turn out low. The latter target group could be those, who face the necessity of sending SMS messages pretty often and therefore requite higher speed of typing. Once again, all manufacturers are to deal with several negative aspects, like unwillingness of consumers to pay more for a device featuring a keyboard, or simple lack of functionality. In order to make it clear for you, let me set an example – remember such accessory as external keyboards for Ericsson handsets, this was an innovative solutions, providing fair functionality, though in the ended it failed in becoming a mass product.
A QWERTY-pad is usually featured in smartphones only as a handy addition to the overall functionality. What really exert influence on choosing a phone is set of incorporated functions, which is emphasized in all ads more that all other details. It may include a BlackBerry client (when the buyer uses this service and feels a need for this capacity), presence of WiFi, a touchscreen, etc. And among all these features, even though it may seem strange enough, a keyboard is just a clincher, helping to persuade a consumer to buy this or that handset. The share of people, who pick solutions exactly for their QWERTY-pad is insignificant and reaches 10 percent at best. However here I need to mention I’m not counting “maximalists”, in other words consumers, who are aiming at getting maximum of features and technical characteristics for a certain price – they consider presence of a keyboard as a handy feature and nothing more, I doubt even whether they know how to use it, but somehow it eventually appears on their wishes list.
Such a lengthy preamble was targeted to demonstrate that the market of QWERTY-handsets isn’t of large scope, and consumers don’t find this kind of devices extremely useful. Restating the aforesaid in different way, we may say that the success of QWERTY-keyboards on the European market depends on development of BlackBerry and similar services. Just one more note – communicators by Nokia stand aside this group, as they are aimed at a different market share.
Sony Ericsson’s announcement of model M600, powered by a QWERTY-keypad, which is at the same time a smartphone working on Symbian 9.1 UIQ 3.0, doesn’t appear to be a sensible step – until the very recent times the company had specialized only on developing ultimate-solutions, covering maximum possible audience. As a matter of fact, the company was lacking facilities, thus couldn’t afford producing other handsets and widening line-ups. The release of М600 symbolizes taking one step forward – from invading the market to the next stage, where product line segmentation steps into the limelight and line-ups begin offering high profile solutions. The company doesn’t suppose that Sony Ericsson M600 will dominate over the market and hit higher sales rates than Sony Ericsson P990 – even considering the fact M600 costs less and possess eye-candy shapes. The main explanation why the handset isn’t aimed at securing a significant market share is unwillingness to create competition without the company’s own product line – that’s why the device doesn’t have camera module and WiFi embedded, since if it had both of them, it would be a direct rival to P990, but it’s evident, that this kind of competition is very dangerous. Putting the cart before the horse, I will note that the next justified step is producing a truly mass product based off М600, armed with a standard keyboard, but with a touchscreen
Not Dead Yet!