New Walkman phones aim for top of the heap

By Chris Nicholls

LONDON: Sony Ericsson has launched a trio of new Walkman phones, with the top model, the W902, claiming ‘best in class’ audio quality.

The three phones, the W902, W595 and base model W302 all come with TrackID software and the top two models use HSDPA for faster music downloads. The base model W302 is limited to 2.5G EDGE, though.

Unlike some previous Walkman phones, which came under fire for average sound quality due to not using any additional sound processing hardware, Sony Ericsson said the W902’s sound quality matches the new W980 model – apparently rated ”best audio experience” in a trial this month by independent German laboratory TESTfactory.

The W902 backs up its claimed audio prowess with a five megapixel camera and comes with an iPhone-matching eight gigabyte Memory Stick to store over 8,000 songs at the lowest encoding rate.

Sony’s trademark shake-to-change system to change tracks and volume is also included.

Those who do not have such a large song collection but wish to share what they have may like the W595, which comes with only a two gigabyte memory card, but includes a headphone splitter jack to allow two people to listen at once.

Casual ‘happy snappers’ will still be catered to with a 3.2 megapixel camera.

Finally, the base model W302 comes with a two megapixel camera and drops storage size down to only 512 MB.

Sony Ericsson also unveiled a number of new accessories to accompany the phones, with two wireless portable speakers (MBS-200 and MBS-400), standard portable speakers (MPS-100) and three new headphone sets (wireless HBH-IS800, noise cancelling HPM-88 and active headphones HPM-66).

All accessories and phones are expected to hit Australia in Q4.

Sony Ericsson claimed they had sold 77 million Walkman phones since launch in 2005, but it needs to sell many more to help turnaround its recent 98 per cent profit fall, announced yesterday.

Full details and pictures of the phones are available at Sony Ericsson’s homepage.

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