Sony Ericsson’s Aspen: Another Bland Entry in an Overcrowded Market

by Matt Klassen on February 3, 2010

In a time when it seems like everyone is coming out with a new phone—everyone but Apple that is—Sony Ericsson is desperately trying to cram one more device into America’s already bloated ear hole. On Tuesday, they revealed their newest smartphone, the Aspen; touted by analysts as the next significant competitor for the Blackberry franchise and Nokia’s E72. But is there anything special about the Aspen, or is it another weak addition to an already over-crowded business smartphone market?

The key selling point of this new phone is that it’s one of the first to run the latest version of Microsoft’s Windows Mobile, 6.5.3. While I’m sure you’re as tired as I am with the meaningless incremental software improvements measured in .dot .dots that we have had to put up with since technology was invented, this update might actually be a noteworthy improvement for Microsoft.


For starters, the new version of the OS brings the ubiquitous ‘Start’ menu to the bottom of the screen along with improved Windows icons, an improved address book, and a revamped finger-friendly layout (say goodbye to the stylus…although strangely one is still included). It also adds support for capacitive displays and multitouch and offers improved browser performance, which boasts faster page load times and better memory management. With all this as part of the new WinMo, it certainly seems that Microsoft is trying to show off just a little bit. Can anyone say Mobile World Congress?

With the WinMo specs aside for a moment, what caught my eye with this device is that it claims some significant green credentials, making it part of the company’s growing eco-friendly Greenheart lineup. While many companies claim to be interested in green technology, Sony Ericsson is one of the few consistently committed to finding greener ways of producing their devices. For the Aspen, this means that it’s painted with waterborne paint, offers an e-manual instead of a paper copy, comes in reduced and recycled packaging, and uses an eco-friendly mini charger, which, the company claims, has a low stand-by power loss, consumes less power while charging, and contains an unplug reminder when the charge is complete. It may not be much, but it’s commendable nonetheless.

Consumers can expect the Aspen to hit stores in late spring with 3G support for HSPA 900/2100 or 850/900/2100. Suspiciously, the only thing that Sony Ericsson seems to have left out of Tuesday’s announcement is the price for their new smartphone, a move common among companies who want to generate some hype before revealing an often overpriced product.

In the end, with Sony Ericsson’s laudable dedication to green technology aside, there is nothing particularly special about the Aspen. It strikes me as just another bland entry in the world of smartphones, perhaps suitable for patients recovering from ear surgery.

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Written by: Matt Klassen. www.digitcom.ca >. Follow TheTelecomBlog.com > by: RSS >, Twitter >, Identi.ca >, or Friendfeed >

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