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Sony Ericsson unveils new phones

The handset partnership between Sony and Ericsson unveils several new cell phones, including a camera phone with a built-in flash.

Sony Ericsson, the handset partnership between Sony and Ericsson, on Tuesday unveiled several new cell phones, including a camera phone with a built-in flash.

The four new cell phones and a wireless modem for laptops will be available in North America by the end of the year, according to Sony Ericsson.

Sony Ericsson began making cell phones in 2001, hoping its new joystick interface and flashier look would help break the hammerlock that Motorola and Nokia have on the cell-phone-making market. But sales of Sony Ericsson phones have lagged behind their rivals, and the handset maker is now the fifth largest, with a 6 percent share of the market.

Market leader Nokia sells about 40 percent of the world's handsets, with Motorola a distant second with 16 percent. Samsung and Siemens also have more market share than Sony Ericsson.

Sony Ericsson did not disclose what carriers would sell the phones.

The new phones include the T610, which has a built-in camera, a flash to brighten photos and Quickshare, new photo sharing software. The new phone, which will sell for about $710, adds to the growing number of combination phones and cameras in circulation since 2002 to accompany new wireless picture messaging services.

The T310, which will sell for about $355, is the handset maker's answer for Nokia's n-Gage wireless gaming device. Wireless gaming is expected to generate $8 billion a year by 2007, according to figures provided by Sega, which announced it will create games for n-Gage. The T310 will debut in North America sometime this month, according to a Sony Ericsson statement.

The T608 is the first Sony Ericsson phone to use the cell phone standard Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) and have Bluetooth wireless networking capability built-in. Bluetooth connects devices at very high speeds within a short range. The technology is already inside many cell phones that use rival Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) standard.

The prices of the T608 and the T606, another new CDMA phone Sony Ericsson introduced Tuesday, were not disclosed.

Sony Ericsson also plans to begin selling Ethernet cards that will let laptops use both a cell phone's wireless Web network and Wi-Fi, the wireless networks inside thousands of public "hot spots" in the United States. Most handset makers, including Nokia, already sell such "dual-mode" Ethernet cards.