The new P1i builds on Sony Ericssons P990i and M600i business handsets, its first-generation UIQ 3.0 devices, both heavily criticised for their lack of operating memory (RAM).
Sony Ericsson said in June new bug fixes and support for the P990i, M600i and W950i (which uses the same UIQ interface but is pitched to consumers) would cease.
Last month, however, it backtracked in the face of protests from developers and consumers, deciding to press ahead with new firmware releases, including RAM improvements, for its existing UIQ 3.0 handsets. Further updates to the P990i, M600i and W950i are expected this month.
Critics suggested Sony Ericsson has alienated business users as a result of the previous lack of RAM, and been forced to promote the P1i as a premium email device for the consumer market as a result.
‘The problem with the P990i was its lack of RAM, which meant it couldnt run multiple applications. It would shut down existing applications when new ones opened, so users had to keep restarting applications, potentially losing data. This has lost Sony Ericsson a lot of trust within the business
sector,’ said a source.
The P1i has 128MB of RAM, compared with just 64MB on earlier models, leaving 80MB free, instead of 16MB. Sony Ericsson marketing manager for UK and Ireland Ian Finn told Mobile News: ‘There were some issues with the P990i, and we have listened to and responded to consumers.
‘The P990i was not massive [in terms of sales]. This will sell better because it will appeal to users upgrading from a high-end bar phone. It crosses the consumer/business boundary.’
The P1i, 25 per cent smaller than the P990i, will be ranged by all networks in time, said Finn. It has an integrated QWERTY keypad, 3G, Wi-Fi and VoIP connectivity, and supports a range of push email solutions. Its also has a 3.2-megapixel camera and Sony Ericsson music applications.