London — Sony Ericsson plans U.S. availability of a new Walkman-brand phone and its first cellular USB modem, but it has no plans for U.S. distribution of its first touchscreen-equipped Walkman phone.
The U.S.-market W380 Walkman phone, a triband GSM/EDGE clamshell due in the first quarter, operates in U.S. 850MHz and 1900MHz bands and overseas 1800MHz networks. It’s among the company’s first phones with Gesture Control, which lets users mute a call or silence the alarm with a wave of the hand. It also features exterior music controls and display, making it unnecessary to open the phone to select songs and control playback. Other features include 1.3-megapixel camera, FM radio with RDS, stereo Bluetooth, included 512MB Memory Stick Micro (M2) card, and playback of eAAC+ music files and protected WMA and WMApro music files.
The W380 is one of multiple Walkman phones with TrackID, which lets users tag a song from its FM radio or external radio, then obtain song and album title and artist name.
The company didn’t announce the carrier through which it will sell the phone. It will also be available unlocked through the SonySTyle Web site and possibly through other retail channels. The company already sells select unlocked GSM phones through Best BuyMobile outlets.
The quadband MD 300 USB modem, an EDGE/HSDPA model, is the first USB modem in the company’s line, which consisted previously of PC Card modems. It’s due in the United States early next year and will operate it HSDPA and EDGE mode in the U.S. 850/1900MHz bands and in EDGE mode in the 900/1800MHz bands in other countries. In HSDPA mode, it supports download speeds up to a theoretical maximum of 3.6Mbps. Pricing wasn’t announced.
A phone not coming to America is the candy-bar-style W960 Walkman touchscreen phone with hard-button dialing keypad. Due in many countries but the United States in November, it also features Wi-Fi, 2.6-inch touchscreen display, and 3.2-megapixel camera. The quadband phone operates in only one U.S. band at 1900MHz. It operates in W-CDMA (but not HSDPA) mode in the overseas 2.1GHz band and is GSM/GPRS mode on the overseas 900/1900MHz bands and U.S. 1900MHz band.