Sony Ericsson adds global 3G modem, extends Google deal

First mobile phone with Google Maps and RSS newsfeeds as standard.

Sony Ericsson has introduced a "world standard" 3G USB modem, and has extended its relationship with Google by announcing its first mobile phone with Google Maps and RSS newsfeeds as standard.

The MD-300 USB modem is HSPA of course, and to make it global it is tri-band UMTS and quad-band GSM, said SE marketing chief Helene Barnekow. She added that it is self-installing - it's also a 128MB memory stick and contains its own Windows and Mac drivers, plus settings for 170 mobile networks worldwide.

Sony Ericsson expects the MD-300 to sell to businesses for mobile use, and also to consumers for wireless broadband at home, where the attraction is the convenience of getting broadband without having to wait for equipment and cabling to be installed.

The K660 web-phone is also HSPA, Barnekow said, can automatically flip into landscape mode when you activate the browser. At the moment you have to give it an address to map, but the phone's designer said that there is a clip-on GPS receiver on the way.

The phone does not have Wi-Fi though, so users had better have an unlimited data plan for their map downloads.

Sony Ericsson already has a deal to use Google as the homepage on a number of phones, and the photo-blogging service in its high-end camera-phones is Google-powered.

For Google, the main attraction here appears to be expanding its mind-share. It doesn't serve adverts to phone users, and there are no other payments involved, according to a Sony Ericsson spokesman.

The phone-maker also announced two new Walkman models - the W380 clamshell for the prepay market and the high-end 3G-capable W890 - and a number of upgraded peripherals, including loudspeakers and headsets.

Computerworld is awaiting confirmation on the availability of the MD-300 and K660 web-phone in Australia.

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Bryan Betts

Techworld.com

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