3GSM 2007: Sony Ericsson five years on

Aims for even bigger things in the next few years

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Sony Ericsson is not launching any new phones at this years' 3GSM Congress in Barcelona ; it announced its new nine-strong handset line-up last week. So today, instead of revealing new products, the Japanese-Swedish hybrid company is in a rather reflective mood.

Sony Ericsson president Miles Flint said this morning, "In our first five years we have successfully established ourselves as an aspirational brand in the mobile phone market. We continue to build on this with products such as the W880, a super-slim, high performance 3G Walkman, that will begin to ship this month.

"We know what consumers want. With recent announcements of more mid- and low-end handsets such as the K550 Cyber-shot and the W200 Walkman phone, we are now making the Sony Ericsson brand accessible to a wider range of consumers. "

Record year

Flint also said that he aims to make the Sony Ericsson experience aspirational at all price points, from high-end phones to the new talk and text phones, the J110, J120, K200 and K220 models.

A record year in sales, net income and profit for Sony Ericsson, the company sold 60 million music enabled phones in 2006; 17 million of which were Walkman handsets. In the same period, 4.5 million Cyber-shot phones were sold.

Since the beginning of the year, Sony Ericsson has made a series of announcements building on the momentum of 2006, with nine new handsets for the GSM market. The mobile phone that's creating the most buzz, the slimline Sony Ericsson W880 Walkman, is, at 9.4mm, thinner than a CD case. It comes with a 1GB Memory Stick Micro card which can hold 900 full-length music tracks.

The Sony Ericsson W880 Walkman has a 2-megapixel camera lens, and features applications such as TrackID, which can record bits of unknown music and send them to the Gracenote music database for identification by artist, song name and album. The featured Walkman Player 2.0 displays album art and connects to an online music store for purchasing tunes.

Budget phones

The Sony Ericsson W880 Walkman is in production now and will start shipping later this month.

The Sony Ericsson W610 Walkman and the Sony Ericsson W200 are both lower-end versions of the W880. With room for 470 and 37 tracks respectively (512MB and 128MB Memory Stick Micro supplied), both models also feature built-in FM radios. The W610 adds a built-in camera, and also includes TrackID.

Sony Ericsson also unveiled two new Cyber-shot camera phone models: the Sony Ericsson K550, and the Sony Ericsson K810 . Both have photo blogging capabilities, powered by Google's Blogger, a dual-front interface with the camera at the back of the device. The K550 has a 2-megapixel resolution; the K810, 3.2-megapixel.

The aim of the Sony Ericsson K550 is to "broaden the appeal" of the Cyber-shot phones. It's 14mm thick and is available in jet black or pearl white.

The Sony Ericsson K810 is the more advanced cameraphone launched this year. With 3.2 megapixels and Xenon flash, it features a BestPic mode which takes nine photos with one click. The user can then pick the best one and delete the rest. All standard stuff really.

Phones for all

The K810 also features photo-editing application PhotoFix, which retouches lowlight pictures directly in the camera, without the need for a computer. Both the K550 and the K810 will start shipping in the second quarter of 2007.

Steve Walker, head of product marketing at Sony Ericsson, said the company now had "a phone for everyone, at every price point".

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