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Phones

Sony Ericsson W900i

Only days after announcing its P990i smart phone, Sony Ericsson has unveiled a 3G Walkman handset that music lovers might be putting at the top of their wish lists this Christmas.

Upside
Sony Ericsson certainly didn't shy away from features when designing its third Walkman phone. A 3G-compatible, swivelling handset, the W900i can also roam onto second generation networks when travelling or outside a 3G coverage zone.

As we saw on the Sony Ericsson K750i camera phone and the W800i, the W900i has a 2-megapixel autofocus camera on the back that supports video capture up to 30 frames per second. There is a discreet secondary camera on the front used for video calls. A generous 2.2-inch 262K-colour QVGA TFT takes up the majority of the phone's face, while a bumper 470MB of user accessible memory is under its shell for storing around 230 MP3 or AAC files. There is a hot-swappable Memory Stick Duo card slot on the side for up to 2GB of additional storage -- an extra 1,000 songs, according to Sony Ericsson. Aiming to give Apple's iPod and its plethora of accessories a run for their money, Sony Ericsson is also releasing a home speaker system, somewhat akin to the Bose SoundDock, to dock the W900i, play music and charge its battery. In the vein of the Griffin iTrip and the Belkin Tunecast, Sony Ericsson will also release the silver-coloured MMR-60 Music Transmitter MMR-60 to transmit music from your mobile phone to an FM radio up to ten metres away.

Downside
A common pitfall of many 3G handsets is that manufacturers don't seem to understand that people do not like carrying chunky phones. At 109 x 24 x 49mm and 148g, the W900i is up there alongside the heaviest phones on the market.

It seems Sony Ericsson has positioned the headphone jack on the bottom of the W900i, which makes us wonder if the numerical section of the keypad will be accessible when the phone is swivelled open. However, we'll have to wait until we see a prototype model to ascertain if you're able to comfortably type a text message while listening to your favourite songs.

Outlook
If the W800i is anything to judge by, Sony Ericsson will no doubt nail sound quality on this Walkman phone. From photos we've seen, the headphones will match its predecessor with the addition of an inline remote control. How customers react to the swivel design, as well as the W900i's heft, remains to be seen.

Like the awaited W550i, pricing has not yet been announced for the W900i, however, Sony Ericsson expects the latest addition to its Walkman family to be available -- in white and black cases -- before the year is out.

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