Comment: High-end handset, late again

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Another major high-end handset, another failure to get enough stock for a proper, full-scale launch.

Sony Ericsson’s Xperia  X1 smartphone is the latest device to suffer a shortage as it hits the high street, meaning some networks are having to go without and many retailers will have to wait until the New Year before they get a whiff of the phone.

Some believe manufacturers withhold stock in an attempt to generate hysteria and demand, but a tactic that made Apple’s iPhone cool and exclusive just looks a bit clumsy here, and could well confuse potential buyers.

In this case, especially with all the rumours it would be delayed until 2009, it’s more likely the rushing of a product to market rather than an effort to restrict supply. A more efficient tactic may have been to agree a limited exclusive deal, such as Samsung has done with the i8510.

This would have got the handset to market, attached a premium exclusive edge to it and given consumers a clear idea of where to get it, while also buying Sony Ericsson some time to build up stocks for the full launch.

Hopefully they might learn from the Xperiance.

This article originally appeared in Mobile News issue 423 (September 22, 2008).

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