We're gearing up for Sony Ericsson's big event here at Mobile World Congress
in Barcelona, which is being staged in the rather swank Opium nightclub -- and as long as the phones are equally swank, we'll be pleased. Stay tuned!
8:22PM That's it for Q&A -- it's a wrap!
8:22PM A question for Stringer: "Two years ago, you said that you weren't happy with the performance of Sony Ericsson. What changed?" In response: "I don't remember what I said last week, much less two years ago." He goes on to explain that the recession was affecting all of Sony, not just Sony Ericsson, and he's "feeling a minor wave of euphoria right now." My goodness!
8:19PM Talking about the major software issues with the Satio, here's a fair question: "Will these new devices be spot-on?" The response was a simple, firm, short "yes."
8:16PM In response to a question about whether they'll still have three operating systems two years from now, Bert says "I think that maybe we can expect not fewer operating systems, but more" because of the push by carriers to create their own branded ecosystems. It's a pretty scary thought, we'd say.
8:14PM Another good question regarding Google's direct retailing of devices. Bert says that Google approached them about the idea of selling a device through its store, but they declined because "we're not an ODM." Very, very interesting -- and possibly not too bright. Going forward though, he says they can't rule it out.
8:09PM Ooh, great question -- what's Sony Ericsson's platform strategy going forward? Bert's response: "you can conclude that Sony Ericsson has three operating systems, and we continue to have that."
8:07PM And that's it! Q&A time.
8:07PM Bert's back on stage, ribbing Stringer into getting involved with Sony's Twitter account during the World Cup. "I'll have to brush up on my tweeting." Yes, Sir Howard... yes, you will.
8:06PM He's using the opportunity to pimp Sony's HD cameras being employed at the 2010 FIFA World Cup.
8:06PM "We fully support Bert and his team at Sony Ericsson."
8:05PM He's also looking to fully expand PSN to phones; video distribution was the example given, but long term, there's no reason to think we couldn't see some cross-platform multiplayer gaming action.
8:05PM "We are exploring consistent user interfaces against Sony and Sony Ericsson products." Makes sense... almost too much sense.
8:04PM Describing the PlayStation Network's 40 million-plus members: "PSN is a not-so-secret weapon."
8:03PM He's predicting the obsolescence of wallets, keys, and driver's licenses as phones take over on every level. It's a brave new world.
8:02PM He's encouraging us to tell everyone we love them on Twitter as soon as the event's over. Let's just cut to the chase: we love you!
8:01PM "It's good to be back in Barcelona after such a long time... I was here three years ago, but it may as well be 30 because so much has changed."
8:01PM Oh, here comes Howard Stringer, CEO of Sony!
8:00PM And that's it from Hoornik -- Bert's back on stage.
7:59PM Another announcement -- "Creations" -- a website where anyone can post royalty-free content that others can modify and re-post. Sounds like a great repository for free themes and the like.
7:57PM "All of the Xperia products that you see today will have an upgrade path." We've heard this message before with the X10 -- it's an important point for SE to be making here.
7:57PM So the Vivaz, Vivaz pro, X10, X10 mini, and X10 mini pro are being billed as the "fabulous five."
7:54PM We have to admit, from a few yards away, we're tentatively really excited about these minis -- but we'll have to see how they perform. And how about usability on that mini keyboard?
7:53PM Shipping in the second quarter! That's more like it, guys -- tighten up that schedule. Makes the original X10 a bit of a non-starter by the time it's in stores, doesn't it?
7:52PM X10 mini pro! It's an X10 mini with full QWERTY.
7:51PM Here we go, time for the third product.
7:51PM Touching back on the Vivaz pro, they've apparently only given up 2 millimeters to add in QWERTY.
7:50PM Coming in the second quarter in four colors plus black!
7:49PM "We think it could really revolutionize the market." Full access to PlayNow and the Android Market (naturally).
7:48PM It's got Timescape, just like the original X10.
7:48PM "We've adjusted the user interface so you can completely use it with one hand."
7:48PM The X10 mini! Holy crap, this thing is SMALL.
7:47PM "Imagine Xperia X10 in a compact form..."
7:47PM Wow, they didn't spend a lot of time on that bad boy... we're already moving on. He says that small size is a priority on this one.
7:47PM Available in the second quarter -- looks like this sucker is basically a Vivaz with QWERTY, hence the name.
7:45PM The Vivaz pro!
7:44PM "We see this is not just happening in the US market -- which is a very important market to us -- but we see it in Europe as well."
7:44PM "First one is the trend going on," referring to QWERTY. We see where this is going.
7:43PM Here we go -- three more products coming in the first half.
7:42PM Now he's talking up the X10, launching next month, saying that the phone gets a ridiculous number of hits on Twitter and Sony Ericsson's own website.
7:39PM The first phone we're seeing is the Vivaz (which has already been announced) for shipment this quarter. Hoornik's talking about the company's Human Curvature design language is out in full force here.
7:38PM "All of the products we're showing you today will launch in the first half." Sounds like they've heard the complaints about their famously long delays between announcement and release -- it's been a real killer for them.
7:37PM They're really pushing this "making people smile" thing -- and they've got a picture of what appears to be a wild rave party up on screen. We'd worry about losing our 600 euro X10 at a shindig like that.
7:36PM "Now it's exciting time -- I get to talk about the new products." Lennard Hoornik, head of marketing, is up on stage.
7:36PM "Make people smile -- that is our vision. Communication is the ultimate entertainment... communication is fun!"
7:35PM Ahh, and here comes the "P": it's "Platform." User Experience Platform. Of course!
7:33PM They've coined the term "UXP" to "help consumers and users," but it just stands for User Experience, which we've usually heard referred to as "UX." But wait, there's more magic to it here -- SE says UXP involves three levels: service integration, "signature" applications, and a rich UI.
7:29PM The X10's being used as an example for a lot of this stuff -- both the hardware and software -- and the problem we see is that consumers still haven't had a chance to experience it. Let's get this thing to retail on the double!
7:28PM They just flashed a new device on the screen -- looks like a Vivaz with QWERTY. One of tonight's announcements?
7:28PM The company's "Human Curvature" design theme is inspired by the shape of the human body, whereas Precision by Tension is "more rational." "These two contrasting things need to be blended."
7:26PM Rather, "Precision by Tension."
7:26PM We're seeing a video on SE's design philosophy -- lots of very touchy, feely concepts here like "Design by Tension."
7:24PM "We are really, really living up to our vision."
7:23PM Rikko Sakaguchi, EVP and chief creation officer, is on the stage.
7:22PM This "vision" slide they've got up reeks of "three screens" -- the strategy seemingly everyone's been touting for years. In fact, it figured prominently into SE's event at last year's MWC.
7:21PM He's pimping the Aspen, GreenHeart's first smartphone (and the first announced WinMo 6.5.3 device, coincidentally).
7:20PM Talking about GreenHeart: "I lived in a state [California] where a Hummer dealer went bankrupt."
7:20PM "Going forward, I think you'll see we have the most quality products in the wireless industry." Bold statement, Bert!
7:19PM "I'm confident that these products will show a lot of success for the consumer."
7:19PM Whoa, we're seeing three unannounced phones on the right side of this slide. "Today, we've released three more to complete the family."
7:18PM "2009 for Sony Ericsson was quite a turbulent year. But we used that turbulence to prepare for this year."
7:17PM Bert Nordberg -- aka, the Big Cheese -- has taken the stage!
7:17PM Aldo Liguori, VP of global communications for Sony Ericsson, is onstage and welcoming us to the event. Hey, Aldo!
7:16PM We're kicking off with a video of what appears to be the Xperia X10, and the music has switched to an uptempo techno type thing, kind of mid- to late-80s.
7:12PM "Take your seats, please." That's a promising sign for getting this show on the road, we'd wager.
7:04PM And we're seated. Smooth, sultry music -- presumably not from Sony Ericsson's home country of Sweden -- is being pumped into the hall.
7:02PM We're being corralled in a holding area outside the theater where the event's actually going down... shouldn't be long now.