In october of 2003, the fledgling joint venture between Sony and Ericsson’s mobile phone divisions was keen on diversifying its product range. Having started off with an update to the elder Ericsson T68, a huge-screened touchscreen smartphone, the P800, and a few low end offerings, Sony Ericsson had just launched its first top of the line consumer candybar feature phone, the T610. As opposed to its predecessor, the T68i and the many entry-level models that borrowed the old Ericsson user interface, the T610 marked the birth of the brand’s own user experience staying true to its roots, but also promising to bring innovation to the table.
In autumn of that year, Sony Ericsson decided to yet again show off their 3G multimedia machine, the Z1010 that was demoed back in February at the 3GSM Congress and supplement its line of flip phones with two new entries: the Z600 and the Z200. The first was essentially a T610 in a clamshell body, while the latter was a bulky phone with a 1:1 main screen aimed squarely at the youth market. And it showed. It had colourful exchangeable face plates, a fancy round external display to show an analog clock as well as notifications. Its OS was somewhat of a mixed bag, being something that stood between the aging T68i and the modernized T610. It was not supposed to be a top of the line model, though, so we can forgive its software transgressions as well as its meager 128×128 display. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves and take a look at what made the Z200 special and basically a milestone marking the end of the Ericsson era.