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MWC 2010: Sony Ericsson Announces Vivaz & X10 Variants

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You know something, Sony Ericsson is a really strange company. Having stepped out of its press conference I find myself unable to figure out if the conglomerate is trying to beat others or itself? Here's why...

Despite SE's proclamation of five new handsets, we actually got three - the other two, the Xperia X10 and Vivaz having been previously announced in November and January respectively. Furthermore, the remaining trio are variants of the most deliberate kind.
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The first is the 'Vivaz Pro', this serves up identical specifications as the Vivaz: Symbian OS, 3.2in 640 x 320 touchscreen, 720p HD video recording, HSDPA, WiFi, aGPS, universal microUSB charger, 3.5mm headphone jack, DLNA certification and TV-out. The difference? Other than a drop from 8MP to a 5MP camera, is the addition of an ultra thin sliding Qwerty keyboard that adds just 2mm to the handset depth.

This is all well and good, but riddle me this Sony Ericsson, haven't you just undercut the Vivaz before it even launches? After all, who wouldn't take the option of a Qwerty keyboard for just an additional 2mm thickness? Even the most ardent touchscreen fan would surely see the benefit in having the option of a Qwerty keyboard given this scenario. And you know what? Sony Ericsson did it again.
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Along with the X10 we have the 'X10 Mini' and 'X10 Mini Pro', both greatly reduced variants of the X10 with 2.55in WVGA touchscreens, HSDPA, WiFi, aGPS, 5MP cameras, 3.5mm headphone jacks and microUSB charging. Like the X10 they both sport Android OSes, though SE has customised that by adding shortcuts into the screen corners to maximise their reduced physical display size. The confusion, however, again comes with the keyboard since again it adds just 2mm additional thickness to the X10 Mini Pro compared to the X10 Mini.

On the plus side, they will all hit the market quickly (inside Q2) - which shows Sony Ericsson has learnt one lesson from the troubled Satio. On the other hand, I believe I just spent 90 minutes watching a company undercut its own products. The Vivaz seems redundant just three weeks after being first announced, while the Mini 10 sets a record of instant irrelevancy of about three minutes.

You're a strange beast Sony Ericsson, a very strange beast indeed...

Check out page two for some hands-on shots.

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