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Varied Features Mark ’03 Phones By Sony Ericsson

Six new wireless phones launched by Sony Ericsson for the U.S. market will expand the company’s selection of CDMA 1X phones and its selection of models with built-in Bluetooth, built-in digital cameras, color screens and removable Memory Stick Duo.

The phones, due in stores in the second to third quarters, also include the world’s first CDMA 1X phone with built-in Bluetooth.

As part of its focus on entertainment, imaging and Bluetooth connectivity, the company is extending multimedia message service (MMS) and game-download capability to all six models, consisting of four GSM/GPRS and two CDMA 1X models. All six models also feature color screens, up from two in last year’s launch. Two models — the GSM/GPRS T610 and T616 — feature a built-in camera, up from one model in last year’s launch. Three of the models — the T610, T616 and CDMA 1X T608 — feature built-in Bluetooth, up from one in last year’s launch.

In last year’s launch, only the P800 PDA phone was equipped with built-in Bluetooth and camera, and it continues in the line. The P800, which was one of only two Sony Ericsson phones launched last year with a color screen, has been available on the company’s Web site and is being tested by carriers for possible sale. It has been upgraded to run PocketPC and Palm applications.

The phones support multiplayer gaming via Bluetooth, and later this year, multiplayer games via GPRS will be available, said Stefan Streit, global product marketing VP.

Also to underscore its entertainment commitment, the company said it simplified picture taking and sending in the T610 and T616 with QuickShare technology, which lets users take a picture with two clicks, thanks to a dedicated shutter button, and send the photo with four more clicks.

Some competing camera phones, Streit said, require “75 percent more clicks” to take and send photos. QuickShare also delivers increased memory to store more pictures locally.

Here are other Sony Ericsson U.S. introductions:

  • The company’s first EDGE product, an 850/1,900MHz GPRS/EDGE PC Card that will be available in the third quarter for AT&T’s EDGE rollout.
    Last year, the company launched a single GPRS card. Pricing was said to be competitive with current CDMA 1X PC Card pricing.
    EDGE’s maximum 384kbps data rate is expected to deliver average throughputs of about 192kbps, said Streit. Last year, SonyEricsson launched a GPRS PC Card, its first dual-mode GPRS/802.11 PC Card, due in the second quarter.
  • What the company says is the industry’s first Bluetooth-equipped MP3 (and ATRAC3) portable, bundled with Bluetooth cellular headset at a tentative retail price of $299-$399.
    When used with a Bluetooth phone, music will mute when a call comes in, and the caller ID will appear on the player’s display. Its ships in the second half.
  • And its first flash attachment, due in the second quarter for the T610 and T616. Pricing wasn’t released.

To promote the products, the company will concentrate in the first half on promoting their game capabilities, said marketing VP Jun Hosoki. Plans include magazine advertising and guerrilla marketing. The T610 camera-phone will put in an appearance in Sony’s Charlie’s Angels 2, in theaters in the summer.