"We can't help!" - Sony Ericsson rejects P800 upgrade petition

by Guy Kewney | posted on 18 November 2003

Angry P800 Smartphone users have compiled a petition insisting that Sony Ericsson provide an upgrade to their operating software. The upgrade is available - but only if you buy a P900. Now Sony Ericsson has responded - negatively.

Guy Kewney

The original petition was revealed in a news story on AllAboutSymbian, shortly after the launch of the P900.

Sony Ericsson has, finally, responded in an interview with the trade newspaper, Mobile News this week, saying there's nothing it can do.

"The new software, UIQ, for the P900, demands more internal memory which the P900 has, but the P800 doesn't," marketing director Peter Marsden told the newspaper.

His response is hardly likely to get any sympathy from the aggrieved 4,367 (as of this morning) signatories to the petition, who say this is a breach of clear promises made to users.

When the P800 was launched Sony Ericsson encouraged purchasers to believe that they would get upgrades. There's a passage called: "Future roadmap" in a White Paper "The P800 for Enterprise Usage" which specifically promises upgrades to the P800 even after new models are released:

"Since the P800 is an open environment, new solutions will continually be developed by both Sony Ericsson and third parties. In most cases, such new solutions will work on the existing product range, even when successors to the P800 have been shipped," says the document.

It continues: "Our internal roadmap is not presented publicly. As a general direction, further solutions can be expected in these areas: corporate messaging and groupware access; security; Java; device management and user provisioning, and developer tools."

Andreason, the originator of the petition, told Mobile News that he accepts that normally, you don't get upgrades when a new model appears. "I know companies such as Nokia don't give major software upgrades," he told the paper, "but Nokia hasn't marketed its devices as being upgradeable the way Sony Ericsson did with the P800."

He maintains that "other than some trivial patches" there have been no upgrades that could in any way be described as major, for the P800.

Marsden's response was unfortunate, appearing to concede that Sony Ericsson has not behaved responsibly towards P800 users. "We try to act responsibly where it is technically possible - but in this case it isn't," he's quoted as saying.

Unless Sony Ericsson finds a way to shrink the UIQ 2.1 down to the P800 memory footprint, Andreason will have the last word.

He told Mobile News: "We all feel like testers for the P900, who have paid through the nose for the privilege; it feels like Sony Ericsson is trying to milk its high end users by making them upgrade to expensive new hardware to get software improvements."

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