Sony have finally released the replacement for the T610 in Europe, coming out with the rather snazzy looking T630, available in a translucent frosted silver case in Europe and a semi-translucent black case in the United States.
It's a definite improvement over the T610 model in two important areas. Firstly, the screen is much better, having been borrowed from the Sony Ericsson Z600 model - consumer feedback on the T610's screen was pretty poor, so this will be a definite improvement. The second area is the inbuilt digital camera, which can now support an output of 640x480 pixels - although it appears that this is done in software and the camera is still a 352x288 pixel device.
Overall, the enhancements are pretty minor, but they do overcome most of the T610's shortcomings. However, probably the key selling point is the T630's looks - the packaging is very reminiscent of the fashionable Apple iPod look and it's quite likely that this will be the main sales driver for this phone.
The phone comes with the usual things like Java, GPRS, games, predictive text and polyphonic ringtones, so no surprises there.
What is interesting is the timing of the phone's release. The T630 was launched in Asia in late November 2003, but in Europe Sony Ericsson were still pushing sales of the T610 and keeping the T630 very much under their hat - announcing the T630 would probably have killed sales of the T610 altogether. This is bad news for customers who have just bought a T610 for Christmas, on the back of Sony Ericsson's extensive TV and press campaign.
Initial launch in Europe is on the T-Mobile network. The phone is free on many pay monthly tariffs.