Sony Ericsson Unveils New Phones

Mobile phone group Sony Ericsson, a venture of Sony Corp and Ericsson, on Monday introduced five new phones that it hopes will boost its presence in the low and mid-segment market.

The group, the world's fifth largest mobile phone maker, unveiled the W600, a version of its Walkman brand music phone aimed at North American consumers; the S600, aimed at the youth market; and a clamshell-shaped phone, the Z520.

It also presented the J210, for those who want mainly simple functions like making calls and writing messages; and a new third-generation (3G) high-speed data phone, the K608i.

"We are widening our range in the low cost and medium segment," Per Alksten, product market chief, told Reuters.

The announcements were made on the same day that Sony Ericsson's biggest rival, Nokia, launched seven new phones, including a 3G phone and three other high-end camera phones.

Sony Ericsson, which used to focus on advanced, more expensive models, has said that it wants to expand its low-end range to become a top-three player.

The company did not reveal precise prices for the new phones but Alksten said the J210 is expected to cost less than 2,000 crowns ($362). Urban Gillstrom, president of the company's U.S. unit, said he expects the W600 digital music phone to go on sale in the fourth quarter for less than $300.

Ohman analyst Helena Nordman-Knutson said she was positive about the launch of the new Sony Ericsson phones for expanding the market segments where the group was already present.

"But I still expect them to release a basic telephone for under 50 euros," she added. She said Nokia sold a fifth of its phones in the first quarter of the year for less than that price.

(Additional reporting by Sinead Carew in New York)

($1=5.525 Crown)

Copyright 2005 Reuters Limited.

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