It appears that Carphone Warehouse, the UK’s largest independent mobile phone retailer, has pulled Sony Ericsson’s flagship Satio smartphone from its stores. The internal memo, which was leaked to GSM Arena, suggests that buggy software is the cause – the Satio runs a version of the Nokia-led Symbian S60 5th Edition – and that Carphone is “investigating a solution as a priority.” If software is the problem then the solution will obviously need to come from Sony Ericsson themselves, so we’ll wait and see how long that takes.
However, none of this I find surprising. I had it on good authority some weeks ago that Carphone Warehouse had already returned a batch of Satios on Day One of its release. The issue: buggy software.
I’ve also had the mis-pleasure of witnessing a friend using a Satio for a few weeks now and I have found myself thrown into the role of Symbian S60 5th Edition apologist. While S60 5th has its faults, mainly on the UI side (they are too long to list here), it’s the disparity between the refinements that Nokia have done on the N97 Mini’s version of 5th Edition, for example, and the bare bones out-of-the-box experience that the Satio provides which has S60 beat.
Basically, the phone’s media player and camera applications apart, Sony Ericsson just couldn’t be bothered. They’ve brought nothing – absolutely nothing – to the Symbian table. Now I know it’s early days for Symbian as an open source OS but for loyal SE users, it doesn’t look good. The Satio is a dog’s dinner on the software side. It’s buggy, feels like a generation or two behind, the browser is awful, and almost all of the potential UI refinements are only skin deep.
A good comparison is the band aid approach that HTC have taken to Windows Mobile – at least that of a year or two ago – it looks good until you get past the homescreen.
And the Satio’s app store? PlayNow Arena. It makes Nokia’s Ovi store look like the size of Amazon. I kid you not, it’s that empty. Sony Ericsson – at least in the marketing displayed throughout Carphone Warehouse and the TV ad campaign – are misleading consumers too. Nowhere on the phone is the native Facebook and Twitter apps that feature in the Satio’s marketing material. That’s just not on.
Hardware-wise, the Satio looks great.
Until you drop it.
It’s very, very easily dented. It’s like this thing is made of the thinnest metal parts and softest plastic that Sony Ericsson could find.
My advice: stay away from this phone. I can’t say it any stronger than that.