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Sony Ericsson unveils autumn handsets

Targets gamers, fashionistas, wrinklies

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Sony Ericsson today rolled out its heavy-hitters for the back-to-school and Christmas sales seasons with a trio of GSM handsets, one pitched at the less technologically savvy among us, and the other two at the nation's 'yoof'.

Sony Ericsson J210The phone company also extended its 3G range with an update to its existing K600 handset.

Sony Ericsson labels the J210 as a stylish phone with a "no-nonsense" approach, just like the handset's predecessor, the J200. Yes, it's a voice-centric device that also offers basic messaging and sports a large keypad and joystick for folk with not-so-nimble fingers. It's tri-band (900/1800/1900) for overseas usage, and there are the usual PIM apps on board, along with three games and OMA-standard DRM to protect downloaded content.

It's a nice-looking handset, though the 600KB of user memory seems a little spartan these days, given the download support. The screen is a 128 x 128, 65,536-colour job.

The Z520's display is a richer 65,535-colour, 128 x 160, 1.8in unit, and its spec is in keeping with the "fashion-conscious" audience Sony Ericsson is targeting. No surprise, then, that it's a clamshell handset, pressed in shiny white iPod-like plastic, though with a range of snap-on pastel-coloured covers for iPod Mini users.

Buyers will probably most enjoy the light effects built into the unit that make the casing glow in one of eight different patterns and hues, chosen by caller ID groupings.

It's a full media phone with MP3 and AAC audio, and MPEG 4 video support, with DJ apps to make the most of all three. DRM-protected downloads are supported too. There's 16MB of on-board RAM. The quad-band (850/900/1800/1900) Z520 also offers Bluetooth and USB for PC and Mac connectivity and data synchronisation. There's a full suite of messaging software, backed by a VGA camera with 4x digital zoom.

The tri-band S600 swivel-phone ups the camera spec to 1.3 megapixels, and the primary display to 262,000 colours. The screen is a 1.8in, 176 x 200 TFT panel designed to appeal to gamers - the handset's layout supports games played in landscape and portrait modes, with joystick and buttons suitably positioned to work well in both. Game sounds, along with 40-voice ringtones, and both MP3 and AAC audio files, are given extra welly thanks to MegaBass bass-boosting and surround sound-esque Stereo Widening circuitry.

Sony Ericsson S600

Sony Ericsson is bundling three action games, including a Bluetooth-hosted multi-player version of Midway's Gauntlet. There's 64MB of memory on board, along with an FM radio and the same DJ apps that will ship with the Z520.

Sony Ericsson K608The K608, meanwhile, builds on Sony Ericsson's 3G-oriented K600 and offers the same media features as the S600. Its candybar casing uses the same screen and camera as the S600, too. There's 32MB of RAM, and support for 72-voice ringtones. Again, Bluetooth is available for wireless headsets and wireless connection to a PC.

The K608 is due to ship in Q3 - exactly when depends on the networks. Sony Ericsson confirmed that 3 has already committed itself to offering the handset. Q3 should also see commercial availability of the J210 and the Z520, the latter being offered in the Americas as well as China, EMEA and Asia-Pacific, as per the K608 and J210. Buyers will have to wait until Q4 for the S600, with precise availability again down to Sony Ericsson's network customers. ®

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