5MP, GPS, Touchscreens, HSDPA: Sony Ericsson Goes Mobile Crazy

"The Next Big Thing" event in Berlin may prove to be just that...

Sony Ericsson drew many comparisons with Apple for its Next Big Thing teaser ahead of its Berlin launch of new handsets this week. Thankfully it has also lived up to the hype…

No less than six handsets were unveiled and they bring a wealth of Sony Ericsson firsts: first 5MP camera, first integrated GPS and many more so without further ado let’s break them down…

Arguably the king of the bunch is the W960i, the much speculated upon successor to the W950i. While its predecessor was a nearly-phone the follow-up is going to thrill many and will likely be seen as SE’s official answer to the iPhone.

Like the year’s most hyped device, the W960i also features a large touchscreen display (2.6in QVGA) but it doesn’t do away with the keypad altogether which, given the doubts over the iPhone’s virtual keyboard, could prove a very shrewd move. Unlike the iPhone it also conjures up 3G connectivity, a high end 3.2MP integrated camera, FM tuner and still manages A2DP compatible Bluetooth and 8GB of onboard storage. At 109 x 55 x 16mm it is slightly fatter than the iPhone but at 119g it is lighter.

The W960i is a hard act to follow, but the five megapixel K850i (above, left) manages it. Naturally marketed under the Cybershot brand, this the first SE handset to reach such a lofty megapixel count and proves the company’s execs are evil since at CeBIT they swore down to me no 5MP cameraphone would be coming this year when I’d already completely nailed it!

Elsewhere the K850i is fairly straightforward with a 2.2in QVGA screen, A2DP Bluetooth, 40MB onboard memory and an M2 memory expansion slot (512MB card bundled) but its 30fps QVGA video capture is quite impressive and the nine hours of quoted talk time/16.5 days standby is humongous.

If GPS is your thang then SE finally has that covered too via the K530i (middle) which offers not only tracker based mapping but also full voice navigation, trip distances and speeds and even a calorie burn calculator while exercising. An FM radio, Bluetooth with A2DP, 3G, a 2MP camera, M2 expansion slot and svelte dimensions (102 x 46 x 14mm and 92g) are the other notable features.

Moving onto music we come to the W910i (right), an ultra light (86g), skinny (12.5mm) slider with 2.4in QVGA display and new ‘Media Manager’ software which replaces the outgoing ‘Disc2Phone’ app. Most interesting about the W910i however is that it is motion sensitive so tracks can be set to skip forwards, backwards or shuffle by giving it a gentle shake. SanDisk recently tried this approach with its low end Shaker and it will be interesting to see how well this control method works in practice.

Like the W960i, K850i and K530i the W910i also has Bluetooth with A2DP, 3G and an FM radio. A 2MP camera, K850i matching battery life and 40MB of onboard memory finish things off.

Finally we end with two budget models: the Z320 and Z250. Similar looking clamshell models they sport matching 1.8in 128 x 160 pixel LCDs, long battery lives (7h TT, 12.5 days standby) and small amounts of onboard memory (12MB/10MB respectively). The Z320 features a 1.3MP camera while the T250 is way back into VGA territory but they do both measure under 20mm across, weigh less than 90g and come in a variety of colours.

As you would expect, the sexiest of these handsets – the W960i and K850i – won’t be seen until Q4 this year along with the W910, but the GPS touting K530i and low end Z320 and T250 could appear any time with Q3 launch time frames.

Way to up your game guys!

Sony Ericsson Main Product Page

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