Sony have finally released
the replacement for the T610 in Europe,
coming out with the rather snazzy looking
T630, available in a translucent frosted
silver case in Europe and a semi-translucent
black case in the United States.
It's a definite improvement
over the T610 model in two important
areas. Firstly, the screen is much better,
having been borrowed from the Sony Ericsson
Z600 model - consumer feedback on the
T610's screen was pretty poor, so this
will be a definite improvement. The
second area is the inbuilt digital camera,
which can now support an output of 640x480
pixels - although it appears that this
is done in software and the camera is
still a 352x288 pixel device.
Overall, the enhancements
are pretty minor, but they do overcome
most of the T610's shortcomings. However,
probably the key selling point is the
T630's looks - the packaging is
very reminiscent of the fashionable
Apple iPod look and it's quite likely
that this will be the main sales driver
for this phone.
The phone comes with
the usual things like Java, GPRS, games,
predictive text and polyphonic ringtones,
so no surprises there.
What is interesting
is the timing of the phone's release.
The T630 was launched in Asia in late
November 2003, but in Europe Sony Ericsson
were still pushing sales of the T610
and keeping the T630 very much under
their hat - announcing the T630 would
probably have killed sales of the T610
altogether. This is bad news for customers
who have just bought a T610 for Christmas,
on the back of Sony Ericsson's extensive
TV and press campaign.
Initial launch in Europe
is on the T-Mobile network. The phone
is free on many pay monthly tariffs.