Sony Ericsson AinoThe Sony Ericsson Aino is the kind of gadget we weep for. A beautiful phone, with killer software and a feature set to stop rivals in their tracks. But it’s fatally flawed. Why? Because this is as close to a PlayStation phone as Sony Ericsson can get, and it’s still miles off.

The Sony Ericsson Aino hooks up to a PlayStation 3 all right, latching on to its remote play abilities and serving up video, music and photos on the go, either using Wi-Fi or 3G. Sure, it’s a mammoth step forward for Sony Ericsson, and PlayStation owners on the whole. But that’s where the fun stops.

There’s no PS3 gaming, not a jot. And when we pressed Nathan Vautier, the Managing Director of Sony Ericsson UK on whether there would ever be a PlayStation phone, he refused to be drawn, answering flatly “no, no. You have to look at things from a single product proposition.”

In fact, all Sony Ericsson’s announcements tonight are lacking familiar brands. There’s no Walkman, Cybershot or PlayStation branding anywhere. Are the rumours true? Is Sony distancing itself from its mobile-making partner?

It seems so. And the story gets worse once you handle the Sony Ericsson Aino. The product itself isn’t just devoid of a PlayStation badge, there are none of the familiar circle, square, triangle or cross buttons. It’s a very disorientating experience, even given the familiarity of the PS3’s cross-menu bar interface, which pops up in eye-popping clarity.

We asked Sony representatives whether owners would be confused (after all, the PS3’s interface makes constant references to pressing specific buttons), and were informed that the best Sony Ericsson can do is provide written instructions in the phone’s manual. It is not allowed to brand the phone with PlayStation buttons, presumably because they are copyright.

Don’t get us wrong. We’re not bemoaning the Sony Ericsson Aino for a simple lack of coloured control keys. What this demonstrates is something deeper. It hints at a schism between Sony and Sony Ericsson. There’s an underlying feeling that while the Sony name is still present, it’s not whole-heartedly supporting the Ericsson side of the business.

We’d welcome your thoughts too. Bold move by Sony Ericsson? Or the last gasp of a dying relationship. Give us your thoughts below.

Out TBC | £TBC | Sony Ericsson

  • some guy

    “here’s no Walkman, Cybershot or PlayStation branding anywhere. Are the rumours true? Is Sony distancing itself from its mobile-making partner?”

    It’s because you haven’t done your research. Entertainment Unlimited devices are a brand unto themselves and are not part of the Walkman or Cybershot lineup. Also, this is meant to be a media phone, not a gaming one. You guys missed the Yari or something?

    Poor journalism makes baby Jesus cry.

  • James Holland

    Thanks for the comment. I’m intrigued to see you find it entirely normal that three flagship phones were launched, one with the best camera Sony Ericsson’s ever made, one with unparalleled media skills and one with new gaming technology… and not a single mention was made of Walkman, Cyber-Shot or PlayStation. It struck us as a glaring omission. “Entertainment Unlimited” is a Sony Ericsson phrase, and not one they’ve done a good job of shouting about. There’s no physical Entertainment Unlimited branding on these devices, or on the promotional material we saw. Personally, I think it speaks volumes that the main Sony brands were absent from the launch. Oh, and rather than missing the Yari, we spent quite a bit of time with it yesterday too. The photos are here:

  • lunacy booth

    SE stated last week that the Cybershot and Walkman brands would be “downgraded” to pre-pay handsets (in the UK at least)while the flagship models would be marketed under the Entertainment Unlimited brand.

    I agree with you though that the marketing of the EU brand seems to of gone AWOL somewhere!

  • some guy

    If you had done the research as you claimed, then you’d have noticed that version 4 of the Walkman player, yes BRANDED; debuted on these handsets.

  • Knuckleblur

    Well I just looked at all the pics, and can’t see Walkman logo anywhere. So is it a walkman phone or not? I don’t understand why Sony makes some phones walkman and other phones not. Doesn’t make sense.

  • some guy

    knuckleblur: It’s not a walkman phone, but all Entertainment Unlimited phones get the Walkman player software.

    SE brands their music oriented phones as Walkmans and the camera oriented ones as Cybershots. The E-U phones are supposed to sit higher than those two.

  • Sony ericsson xperia arc x12

    why not sony ericsson xperia play?

    • Anonymous

      This article was written two years before the Xperia Play was announced!

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