Sony Ericsson answers Apple

Sony Ericsson releases a new Walkman phone that may just challenge the iPhone.

Kent German Former senior managing editor / features
Kent was a senior managing editor at CNET News. A veteran of CNET since 2003, he reviewed the first iPhone and worked in both the London and San Francisco offices. When not working, he's planning his next vacation, walking his dog or watching planes land at the airport (yes, really).
Kent German
3 min read
Sony Ericsson W910 Sony Ericsson

Sony Ericsson showed off a slew of sparkling new cell phones today including a Cyber-shot model for the North American market and a Walkman handset that could challenge the iPhone at its own game. We don't have pricing for any of the new phones just yet but they should be ready for sale in the second half of the year. See all of the phones in our slide show.

The Sony Ericsson W910 and W960 Walkman handsets are catching the most attention. They combine all the usual music features and high-end offerings of other Walkman but they raise the bar by adding a few remarkable extras.

The W960i features a candy bar design and is the Walkman phone to have touch sensitive controls. You'll be able to use your finger or a stylus for menu navigation and music play but you'll have access to more standard buttons as well. In other highlights the W960i will offer 8GB of internal memory, an Opera browser, streaming video, world phone support, stereo Bluetooth, a 3.2-megapixel camera and Wi-Fi. Could it be Sony Ericsson's answer to the iPhone? It certainly matches many of the featues in Apple's upcoming device in a more traditional style. The W960i also is 3G ready but only for European networks. Darn.

The W910's has surprises of its own. With its "shake control" you can manipulate the phone's functions by moving the phone itself. According to Sony Ericsson you'll be able to skip music tracks by flicking your phone in to the right or left. What's more, you can reshuffle your playlists by shaking the W910 back and forth and you can even use the shake control to play games. Time will tell whether it is effective but it certainly sounds cool. The W910 has a slider design in red or black and offers a 2-megapixel camera, Bluetooth and world phone support. It's a 3G phone as well but like the W960i it doesn't uses the 1900 UMTS band used in North America.

The Sony Ericsson K850 is a 5-megapixel camera phone that packs a lot of shooting power into one handset. And if it takes as good as images as its Sony Ericsson K790a predecessor then we should have a few complaints. The candy bar style is standard Sony Ericsson but it come in luminous green and velvet blue.

Sony Ericsson K850 Sony Ericsson

Camera features include an autofocus, a 16x zoom, a Xenon flash, a camcorder, a sliding lens cover, PictBridge technology for printing your photos and BestPic image editing options. You'll also find an FM radio, an expandable memory slot, Bluetooth, e-mail, text and multimedia messaging, an Infrared port, PC syncing, a music player, a WAP 2.0 Web browser, a speakerphone, USB mass storage support and personal organizer applications. The K850 supports three UMTS/HSDPA bands so it (thankfully) will compatible with U.S. 3G networks. Yet that will really depend on if a U.S. carrier picks up the phone, but we can only hope that AT&T and T-Mobile will have the good sense to do so. Yes, it makes calls too. We can't judge the all-important aspect of audio quality just yet but we can tell you the K850 is a quad-band (GSM 850/900/1800/1900) world phone.

Also on the camera phone side, the Sony Ericsson Z320 offers a 1.3-megapixel shooter, text and multimedia messaging, a speakerphone, basic organize applications and USB mass storage. There's no Bluetooth but the Z320 has a sporty flip phone design that's rather unique for Sony Ericsson. Available colors include crimson red or Atlantic blue. The Sony Ericsson K350 will have a 2-megapixel camera and a host of other multimedia goodies like a music player, Bluetooth, an FM radio and a speakerphone. It's also 3G but it will be optimized for European networks only.

Of course not everyone needs all the frills so if you want a cell phone for making calls Sony Ericsson hasn't forgotten you. The simple Z250 has a VGA camera, a speakerphone, text and multimedia messaging and organizer applications. The flip will come in black or white color schemes. Two versions of the Z250 will be available: a tri-band (GSM 900/1800/1900) model use in Europe and a tri-band (GSM 850/1800/1900) handset for calls in North America.