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Sony Ericsson unveils Walkman phone

W800 Walkman PhoneSony Ericsson has unveiled its Walkman branded phone (the W800) which was mooted at 3GSM a couple of weeks ago. The model will start selling early in the second half of 2005 and will have “about 500 megabytes of memory”, good quality earphones and the ability to easily import open standard tracks from a personal computer and other devices. While this sounds like the best phone for playing music on the market, an analyst has warned that “Sony Ericsson may consider putting more memory into its Walkman and camera phones, because competitors plan to announce handsets with hard disks of up to 4 gigabytes, enough to rival the smallest iPod hard disk music players”.

The press release mentions battery life, which has been one of the key inhibitors of putting a serious music player into a mobile phone. The battery in the W800 will last 15 hours if the phone is switched on or 30 hours if it isn’t. I assume the 15 hours doesn’t include the added drainage when calls are made or received or people are doing other things with the phone. At first I was skeptical of the ability to have the phone and the music player switched on independently of one another, but the release gives the example of an airflight where phones are not allowed, but music players are, and I realised there are other situations where the phone doesn’t need to be switched on but people may want to listen to music. There’s also a two megapixel camera with autofocus showing that Sony Ericsson is covering all the bases.

Related stories: Music on mobiles will not end music player market