The W800 was the first Walkman phone. It arrived at a time when cameras had become a standard feature of new mobile phones, and handset makers were looking for new ways to make their products stand out to fuel replacement sales in mature markets.
Driven by the huge success of Apple's iPod MP3 player — of which over 10 million units had been sold by 2005 — the mobile industry believed that built-in music players were the new "must-have" feature for handsets. Sony Ericsson joined others, including Motorola and Nokia, all committed to offering music-centric mobile phones.
Motorola had already announced a collaboration with Apple for a product with iPod capabilities that would be called the "ROKR
". Nokia would announce the Nokia N91
in April 2005. However, Sony Ericsson was the first to unveil a flagship music-centric product, the W800 Walkman phone, exploiting Sony’s iconic Walkman brand.
Announced by Sony Ericsson CEO, Miles Flint, in a windy marquee tent on the beach at Cannes, France where the annual 3GSM World Congress event was being held, it was the first product to combine a mobile phone, a high-quality digital music player and a two-megapixel camera.
This was a disruptive move at the time and captured the imagination of the industry and consumers given Sony’s long-standing music player heritage. It was also considered quite a coup that Sony had allowed the Sony Ericsson joint venture to use the Walkman brand.
The W800 was supplied with stereo headphones and was compatible with industry-standard MP3 and AAC music file formats. Sony Ericsson included a 512MB Memory Stick Duo card which was able to store approximately 150 music tracks, or 10-12 full-length compact discs (CDs). Sony also supplied Disk2Phone software that allowed customers to transfer music CDs onto the phone via a PC.
It was possible to play music for 15 hours if the phone function was switched on, or up to 30 hours if the radios were turned off and the phone was in aeroplane mode.
The W800 came in two variants: the W800i tri-band 900/1800/1900 Mhz version (which is the device in the Mobile Phone Museum collection) and the W800c tri-band 900/1800/1900 MHz variant for China.
It was designed by Henrk Jensfelt
with Charlotta Franzen
and Rui Yamagami