Sony Ericsson is generating a lot of buzz at the moment around its upcominghandset, while the Vivaz runs the risk of being left in the X10's shadow with its similar first-quarter release schedule; however, the more we see of the Vivaz the more we like it.
One way of looking at the Vivaz is as theMark II. It will run on a similar build of the Symbian Series 60 platform as the Satio and is also being positioned as an entertainment handset with an imaging focus, which will morph Satio's 12-megapixel camera into 8 megapixels on the Vivaz with HD video recording.
The value of HD video recording in a mobile phone is yet to be proven, and the crux of this functionality is the ease with which you can share the videos after you've shot them. The Vivaz will ship with YouTube integration, which is nice, but what would really sell this feature is very simple video editing software bundled with the phone, something as easy to use as the iMovie software sold in Apple's iLife bundle. There is a TV-out option though, which will help share videos immediately even if you can't prepare them for public consumption beforehand.
Sony Ericsson's five-panel user interface for Symbian looks as fast and sexy as it did on the Satio, according to the product demo video released by Sony Ericsson (below). One thing that concerns us though is the use of a NetFront web browser rather than one of the excellent browsers based on Webkit available these days. We'll have to wait to see if the NetFront browser has seen any significant improvements since last year, but if it's basically the same browser in the Satio and the Nokia N97 we will be very disappointed.
Whether or not you think you'll use the HD video recording feature, it is a great spec to sell a mobile phone on. Especially when that mobile phone is as sexy to look at as the Sony Ericsson Vivaz. The Vivaz will be released globally in the first quarter of 2010. Look out for more about Vivaz in our coverage of the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona in February, until then feast your eyes on the video below.