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Sony Ericsson launches two new mobile photo phones
( 2003-10-21 14:01) (Agencies)

Swedish-Japanese mobile phone maker Sony Ericsson unveiled on Monday two new color-screen camera-phones to boost its offering of imaging phones in a fast growing market.

The world's fifth largest mobile phone maker launched the P900 camera-Personal Digital Assistant-phone, which is an improved version of its successful P800 predecessor.

"It is smaller, faster, simpler and more flexible," Sony Ericsson said in a statement. One of the phone's new features is the ability to record and send short video clips.

The P900, at the top of the price range, will be sold in Europe and the Asia Pacific region in the fourth quarter, when consumers traditionally spend the most.

It will come to China and the United States in the first quarter of 2004, the company said.

The second new handset is the T630. It resembles Sony Ericsson's highly successful T610 model, the sales of which helped the company make a profit in the third quarter after a long string of losses.

The T630, which Sony Ericsson said will be priced similarly to the mid-range T610, will be sold in China in the fourth quarter and will be available in Europe and the Americas in the first quarter of 2004.

The two new models follow three color screen phones launched in September, which were to broaden the less expensive range of Son Ericsson's handsets.

Analysts have noted Sony Ericsson needed more cheaper phones to gain market share, but the firm has said it would focus on the more advanced models for now as it builds its brand.

"The new phones strengthen our portfolio of imaging phones which Sony Ericsson believes are the future of this industry," Sony Ericsson spokesman Peter Bodor said.

Its third quarter global market share was six percent, unchanged from the second quarter. The world's biggest mobile phone maker Nokia claimed it grew its market share in the third quarter to 39 percent -- more than twice that of No.2 Motorola. No independent third quarter research is yet available, but previous data gave Nokia a 36 percent share.

Samsung and Siemens are also bigger than Sony Ericsson.

All mobile phone makers expect strong demand for handsets in the fourth quarter, but many expect prices will fall on average.

Sony Ericsson, owned by Sweden's Ericsson, the world's biggest producer of mobile networks, and Japan's consumer electronics giant Sony, said last week its profitability could fall in the last three months of this year because of a higher proportion of cheap phones in the portfolio.

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