Sony Ericsson has suffered a setback after two leading UK retailers pulled its newly launched Satio smartphone from their shelves
Sony Ericsson has suffered a major setback after two of the leading UK high street handset retailers announced that they have temporarily pulled the Sony Ericsson Satio smartphone from their stores.
The decision by the Carphone Warehouse and Phones4U, comes amid press reports that Sony Ericsson UK itself has withdrawn the handset from the UK, although this could not be confirmed at the time of writing as Sony Ericsson UK did not return calls to eWEEK Europe UK.
The Satio was launched last month with an impressive 12.1 megapixel camera and touchscreen, clearly designed to compete with the iPhone. It was also billed as one of the greenest smartphones, with a carbon footpring around half that of the iPhone, largely due to reduced packaging.
There is precious little information about the nature of the problems, although Satio users online have been complaining about frozen screens and problems with ringtones. Sony Ericsson told the BBC that it was “giving this matter its utmost priority and working toward solving it”.
eWEEK Europe spoke to Vodafone UK about the Satio. “We noted that Carphone Warehouse has pulled the Sony Ericsson Saito and we are trying to officially confirm if Sony Ericsson has withdraw the device,” said a Vodafone spokesman.
“We have a Vodafone variant of the Saito which has been through lot of testing.,” she added. “We have seen a degree of returns from our customers, but not enough for us to justify pulling the device.”
Reports have also suggested that another smartphone, the Nokia N97, has been withdrawn from the UK, but Vodafone dismissed that. “The N97 has simply come to end of range, and we are now selling the N97 mini,” said the Vodafone spokeswoman.
There have been reports that the Symbian operating system is to blame for the Satio problems, more specifically the way it interacts with the Saito’s own software, which Sony Ericsson uses to make Symbian more friendly, but a leading analyst doubted this was the problem.
“It is too early to jump to conclusions that suggest the Symbian operating system is the problem,” said Tony Cripps, principle analyst at analyst house Ovum. He pointed out that the Symbian based Nokia 5800 was one of the most reliable phone he had ever owned.
“It is really difficult to say what is the issue here, but it gives the impression that any potential problem maybe more down to a lack of testing before the handset was brought to market,” Cripps told eWEEK Europe UK. “It is not surprising really as handsets are getting more and more complex, so maybe the testing procedures let them down a bit, but it is very difficult to confirm this.”
Sony Ericsson also launched another consumer phone this week – the Xperia Pureness – which has a novel design twist. The Pureness has a see-through screen enabled by Sony Ericsson hiding all the electronics behind the keyboard in the lower part of the device.