At the recently concluded 3GSM show, Sony Ericsson was pretty puffed about the fact that they sold 3 million Walkman phones in the six months since launch. They are betting that their W950, a 3G phone with 4 gigabytes of flash memory will push their market […]

At the recently concluded 3GSM show, Sony Ericsson was pretty puffed about the fact that they sold 3 million Walkman phones in the six months since launch. They are betting that their W950, a 3G phone with 4 gigabytes of flash memory will push their market share and help fight off Apple’s iPod. The W950 is supposed to come out in the third quarter and will cost between $357 and $476, according to published reports. “This certainly ups the ante in the battle between Apple and the phone makers for mobile music,” said analyst Ben Wood at market research group Gartner..

I don’t think its going to be as easy. Take for example the six months SE sold 3 million walkman phones. During the same time frame, Apple sold nearly 21 million iPods. 14,043,000 iPods in the most recent quarter, and 6,451,000 iPods in three months prior to that. We at GigaOM are a bit mixed about the current generation of Sony Ericsson Walkman phones. Matt liked W600, but only because it was cheap. I think music phones are going to get quite popular in emerging markets because of the high cost of iPod, and lack of iTunes music store. I still think, the prices of these music phones need to come down quite a bit, and they have to become simpler to use, before they can seriously challenge iPod.

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  1. to me, one key requirement is for said device to plug flawlessly into the digital lifestyle. and iTunes is a big part of it. Being able to sync and play un-DRM’ed MP3s managed by iTunes would be a decent start.

    Their coming-up with an iTunes-killer application would be key to eating away at Apple’s market share.

    When people look at the next iPod-killer, they consistently forget the whole ecosystem that comes with it, to which they must provide a strongER, more enticing alternative.

  2. Its only going to hasten the launch of iPhone I guess.


  3. After experiencing two premature iPod deaths I decided to find a new music player around the time I needed a new phone. I got the SE w800i and so far have been quite happy with it. The phone isn’t cheap but neither is an iPod, yet it has 2MegaPix camera, flash, autofocus, FM radio, expansion slot and a great java interpreter. I can even beam mp3s from my phone to any friend’s device.

    Chris H: There are already a couple well-engineered apps that synch non-DRM music to an SE Wlakman phone. One, iTuneMyWalkman, sync’s photos to iPhoto as well.

    I wrote a bunch about iPod/SEw800i just yesterday.

    I can’t even guess what SE will take iPod’s market share. But I do know that when people buy devices like this they will quickly and permanently stop buying DRM musci from iTunes’ store.

  4. Vincent Fernando Monday, February 20, 2006

    I own a SE walkman phone. It works well and the sound quality is great. Simply put, I needed a phone… and it made sense to have mp3 functionality in addition to a camera. Sure there was a little bit of a leap in buying this more expensive phone (than to buy a non-mp3 phone), but it was less than or equal to the cost of an iPod nano.

    Now I have my phone, and I listen to mp3’s on it. I’ve realized that it really doesn’t make sense for me to buy an iPod at this point. While I agree that the interface between phone and computer still needs to be easier, it is quite easy already. You can drag and drop files into the phone’s folder and there is a play button on the side of the phone.

    The point is, once you have a good mp3 phone there is really no going back to a separate mp3 player. It just clutters your pockets. Once you cross over into mp3 phone territory, the bridge behind you is burned. Let me add that while perhaps in the US mp3 phones are still all in the high end, in Asia there are phones now selling more towards the mid range ($300US). At the very least, this trend will continue to place strong downward pressure on iPod prices. Falling phone prices will squeeze mp3 player prices, until there isn’t much value-added left from mp3 functionality.

  5. I’ve read these comments with attention but there’s one thing that I find missing in the comparison. What about the iPod’s lack of a GPRS/3G connection?
    Through that, phones can enable impulse buying, music streaming and other features like recommendations. Not to forget the community interactions that it enables, from texting your friends to chatting with them, building in fact a way to share the music experience.
    I personally think that the combination of handset manufacturers’ large-scale skills plus the mobile operators’ money will take the mp3 player market over from Apple. Unless, of course, they start shipping phones themselves…

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  7. What SE Walkman needs to take on iPod is to support .m3u playlists and a normal headphone port in the phone itself not with a converter cable.

  8. jake torrecampo Saturday, February 3, 2007

    iv owned a SE W810i and i have no intentions of getting an ipod since sound quality is both second to none (for portable mp3 players) … ipod will become a piece of brick if you own a mp3 phone… lets keep our fingers crossed until the iPhone is out… it will be a sure “head-to-head” battle between ipod’s itunes and sony’s walkman

  9. I own a SE W850i and it is way better than just having an iPod. Yes, Apple’s iPods are well dedicated to digital music and all within it but as far as technology is concerned… A mp3 player, like the iPod, is “only” a music player. But a mp3-phone is a music player and MORE!

    IMO, once you own a mp3 phone it is pretty useless to have a separrate mp3 player. It will be just a waste of money and space in your pocket.

  10. Yeah i don’t need an ipod for its functions and design i own a w300i and its just as sexy as the ipod.

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