Sony Ericsson has suffered a massive setback after its flagship Satio and Aino handsets were found to have software issues.
Sales of the beleaguered manufacturer’s ‘killer’ phone, the Satio, were suspended late last week at Carphone Warehouse and Phones 4u after high levels of returns.
On Tuesday (24 November), it emerged that the Aino – the handset that can remotely control Sony’s PlayStation3 – had been delayed in reaching stores after also suffering a software blip.
Sony Ericsson pushed the Satio via as many distribution channels as possible. The manufacturer launched the 12-megapixel, touch-screen, camera phone in mid-October along with the Aino.
The news is a huge blow to Sony Ericsson’s push to regain market share in the run-up to Christmas.
It follows mass recalls in 2008 of the manufacturer’s flagship products, the K850i, W910i and C902, due to freezing and crashing.
Last month, sources at Sony Ericsson told Mobile that the manufacturer was placing its hopes on the Satio to clawback share, which dropped from 21% to 15% after a slow first six months in 2009.
The issues have raised questions over Sony Ericsson’s future, in the face of falling share and plummeting profits.
The company, which has received fresh investment from its owner companies, made a loss of £258m in Q2 this year. It has not made a profit since the second quarter of 2008.
Sources close to Sony Ericsson said morale within the company is low. One said: ‘This is going to kill them. People are wanting to leave, motivation is terrible.’
Sony Ericsson confirmed the failure of a second handset, the Aino, this week. A spokesman said the manufacturer was ‘aware of a reported software issue regarding the Aino and using the touch-screen interface in particular’.
He said: ‘We are working as quickly as we can to solve it. Aino has sold limited numbers in the UK and this issue affects a very small number of consumers.’