Sony Ericsson adds video to P900 phone

Sony Ericsson Mobile Communications went Hollywood with its smartphone platform, unveiling its P900, a successor to the P800, that can record video clips.

The company also boosted built-in memory to 48M bytes from 32M bytes in the P800 and added support for more colors to the touch screen, according to a company statement.

A joint venture between Tokyo-based Sony and Stockholm-based Telefonaktiebolaget LM Ericsson, Sony Ericsson unveiled the P800 last year. It introduced the P900 on Monday at the Cellular Telecommunications & Internet Association's CTIA Wireless I.T. & Entertainment conference, taking place through Thursday in Las Vegas.

Like the P800, the P900 combines organizer functions with cellular voice and data capability. The P900 supports GSM (Global System for Mobile Communication) in the 800MHz, 900MHz and 1900MHz bands as well as GPRS (General Packet Radio Service) data connectivity. It uses version 7.0 of the Symbian operating system and can run downloaded Java games and applications.

Users can shoot video clips with the phone's built-in VGA (Video Graphics Array) camera and insert them into MMS (Multimedia Message Service) messages. Video streamed to the P900 also can be inserted in MMS messages. The P900's Memory Stick Duo slot can accommodate storage cards with capacities as large as 128M bytes. The device supports MPEG4 video compression. Its screen can display 65,536 colors, compared with 4,096 colors on the P800's display.

The P900 features USB (Universal Serial Bus), Bluetooth and infrared for local connectivity. It can be synchronized locally and remotely with a PC.

For enterprise use, Sony Ericsson has joined up with numerous software vendors for corporate e-mail and secure access via VPNs (virtual private networks).

"The P900 has a few more features than the P800 but it is an evolution rather than a revolution," Chris Jones senior analyst at Canalys.com said.

The P900 will be available in Sony Ericsson's main markets, Europe and Asia, at the end of October, and will be on sale in North America and Latin America from the first quarter of 2004, a Sony Ericsson spokeswoman said Tuesday. Pricing will be down to individual operators, but the price without a contract is likely to be in the region of €400 to €500 (US$466 to $582), the spokeswoman said.

(Gillian Law and Scarlet Pruitt in London contributed to this report.)

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Stephen Lawson

IDG News Service
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