Android smartphones expected this summer
Vodafone UK appears to be set to launch several Android-based handsets, the Sony Ericsson Xperia X10 Mini and Samsung Galaxy S i900, along with Samsung's Wave. Each of the devices appears to retain their standard OS layouts, without the Vodafone 360 services that are preloaded on the company's Vodafone-branded 845 smartphone also based on Android.
SE explores gaming phones
Sony Ericsson is allegedly making a move to up its devotion to the gaming industry by allowing the cameras in its phones to function as a motion-controlling sensor. Pocket-lint reports that the communications device company has signed a deal with California-based GestureTek to incorporate the software into its phones in September. Sony at present already uses the software for its EyeToy camera device on the PlayStation 2, and will allegedly function on Sony Ericsson's older phones as well.
Linux Mobile OS to grow
Market research company ABI Research says in a new report that a Linux-based mobile operating system will find its way into in almost one out of every five mid- to high-end cellular phones by 2013. The study cites efforts by the LiMo Foundation, Google's marketing of its Android OS, as well as Nokia's Maemo and Trolltech purchases as some of the reasons the open-source OS system will grow. ABI's findings also conclude that despite the added cost of hardware necessary to support open-source operating systems, the move will offer better value because of the greater number of supported applications.
Sony Xperia X1 photos
We've taken a quick glance at Sony-Ericsson's Xperia X1 at CTIA. The phone is Sony-Ericsson's first to run on Windows Mobile, and features an iPhone-challenging three-inch, 800x480 touchscreen with a unique panel-based interface. The X1 also features 3G broadband as well as a QWERTY keyboard, a 3.2-megapixel autofocus camera, and expandable memory via microSD. Sony-Ericsson plans to release the phone late into 2008 but has not revealed prices, which will vary by carrier. Click ahead for the full gallery.
SlingPlayer Mobile for UIQ
Sling Media on Thursday said it would expand SlingPlayer Mobile to add support for phones running the UIQ operating system. The new version will allow some Sony-Ericsson and Motorola phones to stream and remotely control Slingbox devices at home whenever the device is connected to either a 3G or Wi-Fi network. The initial lineup will include the P1i (pictured) and P990i smartphones, the M600i, as well as the W950i and W960i Walkman phones. Motorola's RIZR Z8 is also included, Sling said. The updated version of the software will be available in the summer and will sell for $30 to first-time users but will also be downloadable for free for existing owners.
ITC Patent Dispute
A patent infringement claim may lead to blocks against importing both Blu-ray technology as well as cellphones and other storage, the US International Trade Commission said today. The potential impasse has its roots in a complaint by patent holder and Columbia University emeritus professor Gertrude Rothschild, who claims that bringing numerous foreign-made devices with short-wave lasers and LEDs violates her own claims to the technology in the US. Most companies affected by the dispute are those producing Blu-ray optical storage drives and involve chief backer Sony as well as LG, Pioneer, Samsung, and Sharp.
Sony-Ericsson Profit Drop
Sony-Ericsson will see lower profits than expected in its next quarter due to a drop in sales of mid- and high-end phones, the company has revealed today. The cellphone partnership now expects to sell a comparatively modest 22 million phones between January and March and should see reduced income as well as a lower average phone price of €120 ($188), showing an emphasis on low-cost phones. The dip is largely attributed to struggling sales in Europe, where Sony-Ericsson has often had its best market success but where it also faces its stiffest competition. Moves are underway to escape dependence on the region but are not far along enough to have affected near-term results.
Sony-Ericsson rarely supplies North America with its highest-end phones, which makes the K850i a rare treat for the continent: it comes equipped with 3G Internet access, a 5-megapixel camera, and a media player that draws on Sony's experience with its Walkman players. Electronista has tested the phone and in its full K850i review learns whether the phone lives up to the ideal or falls victim to its own emphasis on features. The handset is already available today on Rogers in Canada and may be available soon through AT&T in the US.
Moto Drops Two Executives
Motorola has quietly dropped two of its key executives, the company revealed today in a statement to the Wall Street Journal. The company's European head of Mobile Devices, Mike Fenger, has been replaced by former regional sales VP Stephen Nolan; Larry Raymond comes from the retail chain Sears to occupy the role of treasurer, replacing Steve Strobel. The shift is "part of an overall plan to swiftly transform the senior executive team," according to a company spokeswoman.
Moto Stu Reed Leaves
In a surprise evening announcement, Motorola on Friday revealed that the firm's Mobile Devices chief Stu Reed has chosen to leave the company. The executive had spent just eight months in the role after being promoted from the company's supply business and is said to be departing immediately from his position, which primarily addresses the company's cellphone business. No reason has been given for Reed's departure, though the company notes that he has launched "key initiatives" that will form the basis for future plans. The company has also declined to name an immediate successor.
S-E K850 for ATT Spotted
Sony-Ericsson will release a version of the K850 in the US through AT&T, info provided from an FCC filing show. Already available for a month through Rogers in Canada, the K850 will come as the US-friendly K850a but should support the same tri-band 3G Internet access and quad-band GSM as its northern counterpart, giving it full-speed data on AT&T's network. Text in the user guide accompanying the FCC data references AT&T by name.
Sony-Ericsson's contribution to Germany's CeBIT technology expo today is the T303, a compact slider said to boost the standards for relatively basic phones. The device sports a mirrored front finish with a metal trim and also brings a 1.3-megapixel camera that provides better quality than the VGA cameras that ship with other phones in the class. The handset trims costs by carrying just 8MB of memory and removing the Memory Stick Micro slot of other Sony-Ericsson phones but offers an FM radio to supply music.
Sony-Ericsson's K850i phone has just landed at the Electronista offices, and it promises to be one of the most powerful phones tested here to date -- and likely one of the most powerful phones of its type in North America. For those unfamiliar with the device, the K850i is one of Sony-Ericsson's few phones that supports North American 3G. This translates to very fast downloads, and in our initial experiences the performance is genuinely quick enough to be usable; it feels tangibly faster for downloads than EVDO on rival CDMA networks. The 5-megapixel camera is welcome, especially with the addition of a sizeable flash.
S-E EC400 Card and Headset
Sony-Ericsson has finished up its announcements in Barcelona with word of a 3G ExpressCard line and a stereo headset. The EC400 and its GPS-equipped counterpart the EC400g are Sony-Ericsson's first mobile Internet cards to provide HSPA while using the ExpressCard format; both plug into the EC/34 slot of Mac OS X and Windows PCs to provide up to 7.2Mbps downstream in peak conditions as well as up to 2Mbps for uploads. An auto-configuring process ensures a near pain-free setup process, the company explains.
Sony-Ericsson C702 C902
Rounding out Sony-Ericsson's phone releases at Mobile World Congress are the C702 and C902, both entries in the company's Cyber-shot cameraphone lineup. The 3.2- and 5-megapixel respective phones are each designed for frequent photography, each with their own unique twists. The C702 equips assisted GPS and will geotag photos with their positions; its body is also sealed against dust and splashes and is shaped to snap photos easily with one hand.
Sony-Ericsson W980 Z770
Sony-Ericsson this afternoon claimed to have some of the best music and web phones yet with the announcement of two more devices in its Mobile World Congress lineup. The W980 clamshell is the device maker's new flagship Walkman phone and includes 8GB of built-in flash memory to hold most users' whole collections without needing an external card. Audio-enhancing functions as well as premium earbuds also provide better listening than most devices in the class, the company touts. In an unusual spin for Sony-Ericsson phones, an FM transmitter is built in along with a receiver, allowing the W980 to beam music to nearby stereos or even other phones with FM radios.
Sony-Ericsson G700 G900
Continuing a succession of announcements for the Mobile World Congress show, Sony-Ericsson today launched two touchscreen cameraphones it says are the first truly aimed at the mainstream. The 3.2-megapixel G700 and 5-megapixel G900 [both links active soon] make the unusual choice of offering both a touchscreen and a full number pad. The 2.4-inch LCD can be used to browse music, edit photos, surf the web, and call contacts with fingers as well as to draw or write notes with a stylus; in turn, the traditional controls allow quick dialing, menu-hopping, and shortcuts to common tasks.
Sony-Ericsson Xperia X1
Sony-Ericsson opened the Mobile World Congress today by unveiling the XPERIA X1, its first true touchscreen-focused cellphone. Following a deal with Microsoft, the handset is Sony-Ericsson's first device to use Windows Mobile for its OS but also uses a custom interface of "XPERIA panels" rather than the default Microsoft front-end: users simply tap panels with their fingers to access calling, media, and other functions, according to the phone designer. Though dominated by its 3-inch, 800x480 touchscreen, the device also includes both optical and physical navigation pads at the bottom as well as a unique arc-slider QWERTY keyboard that tilts outward for more comfortable typing.
ATT Mobile TV Delay
AT&T's widely reported mobile TV service has suffered a major delay, claim sources with access to the company's latest pricing roadmap. While the schedule reveals unannounced phones such as a GSM-based American version of the Palm Centro, no mention is made of the LG Vu touchscreen phone considered the linchpin of the mobile TV launch. A second phone intended for the launch, the Samsung Access, is also absent from the list and would leave AT&T without any TV-capable phones for the service, which was originally due to launch on February 5th.
Sony-Ericsson is expected to unveil a new G-series of phones, which consist of two predicted models. Enthusiast news site SEfanatics reports that the new models will be called the G900i and G700i, and are expected to be shown February 10th. The G900i, codenamed Tyra, will supposedly feature a 2.6-inch screen, WLAN, and a 5-megapixel camera. Meanwhile, the G700i, codenamed Josephine, will also feature the 2.6-inch screen, but with a 3.2-megapixel camera and sans WLAN.
Sony-Ericsson K850 Rogers
Canadian cell provider Rogers today said it was the first carrier on the continent to carry the Sony-Ericsson K850, one of the cellphone maker's highest-end camera phones. The candybar design centers around photography with a 5-megapixel camera and a xenon flash bright enough to capture more distant subjects than usually possible with cellphones. It also supports 3G Internet access on Rogers' HSDPA network and grants the phone access to two-way video calls as well as faster downloads and uploads.
Ericsson Considering Moto
Swedish telecoms firm Ericsson is contemplating buying a spun-off Motorola mobile business if it becomes available, company chief Carl-Henric Svanberg said today at an investment analyst conference. The official, whose company forms half of cellphone giant Sony-Ericsson, explained that it would be "cautious" about buying any mobile division that would split from Motorola but that the company would nonetheless watch any services that might be made available. Ericsson has historically avoided buying out other companies because it often believes it would be "better off" improving on its own, claims Svanberg.
Motorola May Exit Cell Biz
Motorola may be looking to fold its cellphone business after years of struggling to restore the business to profit, says an investor note from Nomura analyst Richard Windsor. After a damaging quarter that saw Motorola's cellphone sales suffer a 38 percent drop, the company is said to be considering closing the division entirely to stem losses. This would leave the remaining divisions to focus chiefly on government and large-scale business sales, Windsor says. Notably, Motorola would still appear in the mainstream market through its technologies, which include WiMAX handheld chipsets and mobile TV devices.
Sony-Ericsson this morning revealed an aggressive step into online music with expanded plans for its upcoming PlayNow arena music service. The cellphone producer says it has now struck deals to offer downloadable full tracks from major labels EMI, Warner Music, and its sibling Sony BMG as well as larger independents such as The Orchard and X5. This will add up to more than five million songs available for owners of Sony-Ericsson handsets, the company says. No details have been given as to whether the catalog will extend to the ordinary PlayNow service already available today, which sells some full music as well as ringtones.
Mobile growth slowing
Growth in the mobile phone industry is expected to slow to the single digits going forward from this year, according to market research firm IDC. Last quarter saw a rise in unit sales of 11.6-percent, with the previous holiday quarter fluctuating between 18- and 30-percent. Despite the slowing growth, more than 300 million mobile units were sold during the quarter, which is a record for any quarter, historically. Overall, 1.14 billion phones were sold worldwide, which is 12.4-percent more than the year prior.
Nokia Q407 Marketshare
Nokia on Thursday reported one of the best fiscal quarters in its history, earning about 47 Euro cents (69 US cents) per share in the October to December period, or just short of 2.5 billion Euros ($3.6 billion US) in profit. The achievement was the result of selling 133.5 million phones in the three-month span and was enough to grow the Finnish company's marketshare even further, pushing the firm's control from 37 percent to an even 40 percent, eclipsing Samsung, Motorola, and Sony-Ericsson in terms of overall influence.
S-E T280 and R300
Sony-Ericsson this morning launched four phones, all targeted at essentialist owners. Both the 1.3-megapixel T280 cameraphone and the cameraless T270 each adopt a thin (0.5in) metal candybar shape and are focused chiefly on calling and basic web use; both have Bluetooth for hands-free calling, while the T280 adds an FM radio with RDS station data support. Either will be available before the end of March; versions are available both for international audiences (T270i and T280i) as well as for Americans (T270a and T280a) in a pair of two-tone color models.
Sony-Ericsson 100m Sales
Sony-Ericsson has sold more than 100 million phones in one year for the first time in the company's history to make a dramatic stride in marketshare, the handset maker announced today as part of its latest quarterly financial results. The partnership between Japanese and Swedish firms managed to sell 103.4 handsets over the course of 2007, amounting to slightly more than 9 percent of the market and fourth place overall. The gain is a full 2 percent over what the company claimed in 2006 and is credited by Sony-Ericsson to triumphs with several of its Walkman-themed music phones, including the W580i (pictured).
As a quick follow-up to its phone announcements at the start of CES, Sony-Ericsson today released the HBH-PV712 Style Edition. The Bluetooth earpiece is targeted at women who want hands-free calling but are still image-conscious: in addition to three different faceplates to match its colors to clothing, it also incorporates an ear hook designed to accommodate long hair. Carrying the headset is also unique. While a pouch keeps it and its companion phone from being crushed in a bag, a necklace bundled with the headset lets women hang the headset from their neck without its seeming out of place with dress clothes, Sony-Ericsson claims.
Sony-Ericsson CES 2008
Not content to hold until the Mobile World Congress in February, Sony-Ericsson tonight took the wraps from three phones, all of which are destined to reach US shores. The pictured W350 is unique in the lineup with an unusual flip that covers the keypad when not in use, covering it instead with an extra-simple navigator that gives basic music controls. Despite this, the device measures just 10mm (0.39in) deep, Sony-Ericsson says. It also claims a 1.3-megapixel camera, an FM radio, and the latest Walkman software with AAC and MP3 track support. The device will ship in several black, blue, and white color schemes during the spring and will come packed with a 512MB Memory Stick Micro card. Versions for China, the US, and the world will be available.
Sony-Ericsson Z660i Leak
Sony-Ericsson should be preparing its first truly slim flip phone for early next year, say sources with information from the Esato forums. The Z660i would be a spiritual descendant of the W890i, adopting a clamshell form but remaining exceptionally thin: the closed phone would be just 0.55 inches thick, say the reports. As a result, the phone would also include an external LCD for call info. The Z660i's membership in the mid-range 600-series phone line will dictate a smaller 2-megapixel camera to keep the price in check.