11/26/2009 12:42:00 PM
Sony Ericsson Aino hit by software issues
Software problems have hit a second Sony Ericsson handset – the Aino – just weeks after its launch.
The news comes just days after Sony Ericsson pulled its flagship Satio handset after high returns at Carphone Warehouse and Phones 4u saw both retailers halt Satio sales.
The failure of the beleaugured manufacturer’s two ‘killer’ handsets raises questions over Sony Ericsson’s future, in the face of falling shares and plummeting profits.
Both handsets were launched in October, alongside an expensive marketing campaign, in a bid to win back market share in the weeks leading up to Christmas.
These latest failures follow mass recalls last year on flagship products, K850i, W910i and C902, due to freezing and crashing.
The Satio - a12-megapixel touch screen camera phone - was sold via as many distribution channels as possible. The Aino has been sold via tele and internet channels but software problems emerged before it was launched in retail stores.
Sony Ericsson confirmed the failure of the Aino this week. A spokesman said the manufacturer was ‘aware of a reported software issue regarding the Aino handset and using the touchscreen interface in particular. ‘
He added: ‘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.’
Carphone Warehouse and Phones 4u confirmed they had pulled the Satio last week. Both retailers said they were’ working closely’ with Sony Ericsson to resolve the issue as quickly as possible.
Although Aino demonstration handsets are in both Carphone Warehouse and Phones 4u stores limited numbers appear to have been delivered for sale. A source at one retailer said: ‘We were waiting for the Aino but then we were told there are Blue Tooth software problems with it and that they are being held back in the warehouse.’
A Sony Ericsson source said the Satio will be back on sale ‘in a matter of days, not weeks.’ He added: ‘All new products are being shipped in and anything in the channel will get reflashed at Sony Ericsson’s cost.’ He said the software issues on each phone were not related.
Sources close to Sony Ericsson said morale within the company is low. One said: ‘This is going to kill them - they are being slowly killed. Internally, people are wanting to leave, motivation is terrible.’
In October, sources at Sony Ericsson told Mobile that the manufacturer was placing its hopes on the Satio to claw back share after a slow first six months in 2009, which saw its share drop from 21% to 15%.
The company which is also receiving fresh investment from its owner companies, made a loss of £258m for Q2 of this year. It has not made a profit since the second quarter of 2008.