July 15, 2004 2:20 PM PDT

Sony Ericsson picks up new phones

Sony Ericsson Mibile Communications announced a series of new phones, as the handset maker basks in upbeat earnings and aims to continue its strong sales.

The company, a joint venture between consumer electronics maker Sony and mobile phone giant Ericsson, introduced the four handsets Thursday, shortly after it reported a 55 percent increase in the number of its phones shipped, compared with the same period a year ago. The resurgence has helped the company continue a turnaround that began last year.

The company posted a revenue of $1.9 billion, an increase of 34 percent. Profits were $110 million compared with a loss of $109 million during the same period last year.

Two of the phones the company introduced, the S710a and the Z500i, can be used on EDGE (Enhanced Data Rates for Global Evolution) networks. EDGE is a third-generation cellular technology that delivers broadband-like data speeds to mobile devices. Devices can connect to the Internet and send and receive data considerably faster than with an ordinary GSM/GPRS network.

The S710a has a swivel design and features a built-in 1.3-megapixel digital camera with an 8x digital zoom and a 2.3-inch color screen. The device has a Memory Stick Duo slot and Bluetooth connectivity for transferring files such as photos to other devices.

The Z500i is a clamshell phone with a built-in Video Graphics Array, or VGA, camera that can take pictures and video clips. It also features so-called push-to-talk, a technology that turns cell phones into walkie-talkies by connecting to other phones without dialing. The phone has a 65,536-color display. When the handset is closed, its external 4,096-color display serves as a viewfinder for capturing images.

The S710a will debut in the American markets, while the Z500i is meant for Europe and Asia. The company did not disclose prices but said both phones will be available in the fourth quarter of 2004.

The company also announced the P910, a combination organizer and phone that comes with a keyboard and handwriting recognition software for text input. The smart phone will ship worldwide in the third quarter. Consumers will be able to surf the Web and send and receive e-mail using the Symbian operating system-based phone. It also comes with a Memory Stick Duo expansion slot and will work on GSM/GPRS cellular networks. Pricing was not disclosed.

Meanwhile, the K500 is designed to be a phone on one side and a camera on the other. It features a 1.9-inch color screen and has 12MB of memory. The K500 camera phone will be available in the third quarter, the company said.

 

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