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Sony Ericsson Announces Eight New Phones

Sony Ericsson Announces Eight New PhonesThe world’s number four mobile handset maker Sony Ericsson is looking to expand its footprint in the mobile phone market place, announcing a slate of eightnew phones today: four designed to appeal to everyday consumers as well as new phone users in emerging markets, while four are feature-packed with music and photo capabilities and aimed atsophisticated mobile phone users.

On the affordable front, Sony Ericsson plans to offer the K200, K220, J110, and J120 candybarhandsets. The K200 and K220 sport VGA cameras and 2 MB of internal memory, along with 128 by 128 pixel displays; the K220 also offers an integrated FM radio with RDS capability (which is actuallyuseful in Europe and other parts of the world). Both phones feature slideshow capabilities (although we have trouble conceiving of 128 pixels as a "slide"), and should start hittingselected markets in the second quarter of 2007; no word on pricing, but the phones will probably be more expensive than current competition from Motorola and Nokia, probably landing close to€100. If cameras are superfluous to you, the H110 and J120 might be the ticket: the J110 is a just-the basics phone, while the J120 adds the FM radio capability. Again, expect them in thesecond quarter in selected markets, probably starting around €50. All four models will be available in a variety of colors.

Up the ladder a bit, the new W610and W880/W888 Walkman phones. The W880/W888s combine a slim profile (just 9.4 mm) with 1 GB of Memory Stick Micro memory to cart your tunes around with you, along with a 2 megapixel camera. BeingWalkman phones, they include the Walkman Player and Disc2Phone applications to load up, manage, and organize your music (USB connectivity lets you hook up to a PC), and Bluetooth audio streaming letsyou pump your tunes to a hands-free headset. They even support streaming audio and video, and offer a built-in RSS-capable Web browser. The W880 is a UMTS 2100 GPRS tri-band phone, while the W888 isa GMS version aimed at China with the streaming video capability stripped out; the phones should hit market in the imminently. Meanwhile, the W610 offers a horizontal camera menu (so users can takepictures holding the phone like a regular camera) along with a picture blogging feature for uploading images directly to Web sites. Also on board: an RDS FM radio, Bluetooth 512 MB of memory on aMemory Stick Micro for your songs, push email support and a "face warp" feature to make your pictures fun. The W610 should hit selected markets in the second quarter of 2007; no word onpricing.

In the Cyber-shot line, Sony Ericsson has announced the new K810 and K550. The slim (17mm) K810 offers a 3.2 megapixel camera with Xenon flash, a 2-inch QVGA display, Bluetooth, USB 2.0, FM radiowith RDS, speakerphone and 64 MB of user memory. Of course, you can expand storage for your music with Memory Stick Micro cards (the phone comes with a 128 MB card), and the phone offers music andvideo playing capabilities, along with that RSS-savvy Web browser and Picture Blogging feature. The K550 is much the same, but scales back to a 1.9 inch screen, a 2 megapixel camera, and doesn’t shipwith that 128 MB memory stick—but as an added bonus, it’s 3 mm thinner! The K810 s a UMTS 2100 and GPRS tri-band phone; the K550 is a quad-band GPRS/EDGE device. Expect to see them in thesecond quarter; no pricing has been announced.

Recent sales numbers point to Sony Ericsson being the fasted growing mobile phone vendor amongst the top five handset manufacturers, owing largely to the popularity of its Cyber-shot andWalkman-branded phones. The company says it has sold 20 million Walkman models and 4.5 Cyber-shot models to date. And while it may be the number four phone maker right now, it’s number two in termsof profitability, because of the margins in its high-end skewing product line. It’ll be interesting to see if Sony Ericsson can make a dent in the entry-level and mid-range phone market and makemoney on sales volume.

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