MWC2010: Sony Ericsson's Co-Creation strategy puts User Generated Content back at the centre

Sony Ericsson’s Co-Creation strategy puts User Generated Content back at the centre of their mobile phones and signals a challenge to Apple’s locked-down iPad.

At the Mobile World Congress, Sony Ericsson pledged a commitment to Co-Creation. Okay so “co-creation” sounds like woolly term that doesn’t mean very much – but SE’s statement does mark an interesting shift. Sony Ericsson wants its mobile handsets to become publishing platforms. It wants to get everyone using its mobile phones and apps to make fun content – text, films, music, pictures – instead of just consuming it.

Mobile devices have always been products to consume content on – music, pictures, text on the internet – but making them into devices that you produce serious content on is a step in a new direction. Sony’s idea of mobile phones as devices to “create” on might take a while to take off – especially when it still involves typing into a keyboard smaller than your hand.

But as technologies like Swype (an intelligent touch-pad that means you only have to slide your finger over the keyboard to make words) and voice recognition improve, writing on mobiles will get easier. Wifi and good internet will mean sharing is easier. And apps that let you edit video and photos will let people create higher quality work and encourage serious photographers and film-makers on board.

Plans are still in the embryonic stages and Sony Ericsson wants content to be collaborative, they’re encouraging developers to get on board too to create apps to facilitate this kind of creation.

An emphasis on co-creation and user-generated-content puts Sony Ericsson in a different field to Apple, who was criticised for ignoring the basic principle of web 2.0 with its iPad.

By making the iPad a device without a keyboard or camera and with a controlled-content feed through iTunes: Apple has made it easy to consume but harder to contribute: taking us away from read-write web – the essence of web 2.0 and back to web 1.0. (read web).

Is this just a token gesture from Sony Ericsson? Will they back it up with the tools needed to make creation possible on handheld devices? Will they offer any financial incentives for writers, photographers and so on to produce on their platform in the same way they do for developers? we’re interested to find out.

See the Sony Creations site.

Anna Leach