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Sony Ericsson's slim, multimedia Vivaz

The Sony Ericsson Vivaz has a slim, candy-bar design and multimedia features.

Sony Ericsson usually sneaks in a couple of phone announcements shortly before the annual Mobile World Congress (MWC), and this year is no exception. Indeed, with Barcelona's cell phone extravaganza just three very short weeks away, the company unveiled a new multimedia handset Thursday called the Vivaz.

Sony Ericsson Vivaz Sony Ericsson

Though we have yet to hold the Vivaz in our hands, its slim, candy-bar design is appealing. The tapered ends give it a streamlined look, and we like the four color choices (cosmic black, moon silver, galaxy blue, and Venus ruby). Its most prominent feature is a 3.2-inch touch screen that supports 16.7 million colors and 360x640 pixels. The back of the handset resembles a standalone camera with a prominent lens and a flash.

Not surprisingly, multimedia is a key theme. Features on the Symbian device include an 8.1-megapixel camera with video recording, a music player, assisted GPS, a speakerphone, messaging and e-mail, PC syncing, USB mass storage, stereo Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, TV-out connection, a personal organizer, and (thankfully) a microSD card slot. What's more, the quad-band (GSM 850/900/1800/1900) Vivaz can support North American 3G networks.

We hope we'll be able to play with the Vivaz at MWC. Check back starting February 14 for full coverage of the show by CNET editors.