Sony Ericsson has launched five new phones, including a Cyber-shot model with an 8.1-megapixel camera, a phone for gamers, and two phones for developing markets that the company said will be its cheapest yet.
The C905 is the first phone to have both an 8.1-megapixel image sensor and a xenon flash, according to Joakim Liljedahl, senior category manager at Sony Ericsson. The camera also has face detection, smart contrast and image stabilization features but no optical zoom.
The C905 is a slider phone, instead of a candy-bar shape, which was the preferred form factor for previous Cyber-shot phones.
"It looks more like a real camera, and there are no buttons to distract you when you take pictures" said Liljedahl.
The phone has a 2.4-inch screen, an A-GPS receiver, Wi-Fi and HSDPA (at 3.6M bps). It also supports DLNA (Digital Living Network Alliance), which is supposed to make the digital home a little bit easier. Using the built in support for Wi-Fi the C905 can send pictures to for example a PS3.
Sending pictures is an important feature, according to Sony Ericsson, but the C905 lacks support for high-speed uploading via HSUPA: including that would have increased the size and cost of the phone too much, according to Sony Ericsson category manager Fredrik Månsson.
The C905 still won't be cheap: when it arrives in stores during the fourth quarter, it will cost about 5,000 Swedish kronor (€525 or US$825), the company said.
Not everyone is convinced that the move to 8 megapixels is a good idea.
"My personal experiences suggest there's still a lot of work to be done in improving the quality of camera phones with 5-megapixel sensors. The jump to eight megapixels just makes this even more challenging. Resolution (pixel count) has little to do with picture quality. Color and tone are more important," wrote Ben Wood, analyst at CSS Insight, in his company's blog last week.
Sony Ericsson has also launched another camera phone, the S302, with a 2-megapixel camera. The company didn't think it lived up to the Cyber-shot brand used on Sony's high-end digital cameras, though, so it will be branded Snapshot instead.
Cyber-shot is not the only Sony brand used by Sony Ericsson: it also uses the Walkman name on phones designed to play music.
Sony's PlayStation brand would have made sense for a phone designed for mobile gaming, but Sony has chosen F (for fun) as the brand for another new phone, the F305. The company did find room for two of the PlayStation's emblems, an X and an O, on the F305's dedicated gaming buttons, though.
The F305's party piece is a support for what Sony Ericsson calls motion gaming: For example, you can swing the phone when you are playing bowling or fishing games. The F305 comes with games for both of those, as well a third game called Jockey. More games can be downloaded from Playnow Arena.
"It is not for core gamers, but brings a device for people who do like using their device for gaming as well as other functions," said Carolina Milanesi, analyst at Gartner.
The F305 also has stereo speakers for gaming or listening to music without headphones. The display measure 2 inches across and has a resolution of 176 by 220 pixels. The phone lacks support for 3G, instead using Edge.
Games currently cost between €2 and €5, and the price of games with support for motion gaming will probably be at the upper end of that range, according to Liljedahl.
It will cost about 2,000 Swedish kronor when it ships during the third quarter.
The last two new phones are launched with the express purpose of increasing sales volumes, and improving Sony Ericsson's presence in developing nations, according to Liljedahl.
"The J132 will be the cheapest phone we have ever made, and cost about €50," he said.
Sony Ericsson describes it as a "solid talk and text phone with dust-resistant keypad", but it does have a built in FM radio.
The K330 is a step up, and will cost between €70 and €90. It has a VGA camera, and can store up to 250 images. It can also play music.
The J132 will become available during the fourth quarter, and the K330 will start shipping in the third quarter.