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Sony Ericsson Announces Three New Handsets for Asia-Pacific Market

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Satio, Aino and Yari

Satio, Aino and Yari

SINGAPORE – Following on the heels of Samsung,  Sony Ericsson announced three handsets in a much hyped media event “Empower the Future”, during CommunicAsia 2009.

While Samsung announced as many as five new models at the event, Sony Ericsson resorted to launching models for the Asia-Pacific market which were previously announced in Europe.

The “Empower the Future” event proved to be a media dampener with no Xperia 2 being launched, unlike previously speculated, but journalists did get a feel of Sony Ericsson’s Satio, first announced at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona; the Aino and Yari were first announced in London, in late May 2009.

The Satio is a S60 5th-edition-powered device which was the first 12 megapixel camera-phone to be announced (Samsung’s Pixon 12 may be the first one to reach the market with scheduled availability in October 2009). The Aino is a multimedia phone offering seamless integration with other Sony devices including the Sony Playstation 3; while the Yari is a mobile gaming device offering gesture and motion-controlled gaming, along with regular phone features.

Sony Ericsson Satio

Live image of Satio taken during the MWC 2009

The Satio was first announced at the GSMA Mobile World Congress held in Barcelona from 16th-19th February, 2009, as the Idou. It was later re-christened as Satio and has been reviewed in our earlier post as Idou.

The main features of the device include a 12.1 megapixel camera equipped with autofocus, xenon flash, LED flash for video recording, geo-tagging, face detection, and Smile Shutter technology, which only captures an image when an individual is smiling (if selected).

Some of the other specifications include HSDPA, Bluetooth, DLNA-certified Wi-Fi, an accelerometer (motion sensor), microSD memory card slot, USB 2.0 connectivity, and A-GPS.

The Satio sports a 3.5″ TFT touchscreen with 360×640 pixels of resolution, capable of rendering 16M colours. The screen is capable of nHD resolution at 16:9 aspect ratio, making it the perfect camera phone with a perfect blend of optics and high-resolution screen.

Powered by Symbian S60 5th edition OS, the device will feature a different interface from that used in Nokia’s 5800 and N97, and Samsung’s i8910.

Pricing and availability is still unknown with expected market availability in the fourth quarter of 2009.

Sony Ericsson Aino

Live image of Aino shown docked on its cradle (Source:hardwarezone.com.sg))

Live image of Aino shown docked on its cradle (Source: HardwareZone)

The Sony Ericsson Aino is an all-out multimedia phone offering media streaming utilizing its integrated Wi-Fi connectivity to stream music from a computer via the Media Home application.

The device comes with its own charging stand that acts as a docking station, connected to a computer for synchronisation. The Aino goes where no mobile device has ventured yet with its support for Remote Play with PlayStation 3, a feature that brings direct control over media content on a PlayStation 3 to the mobile device.

The phone is equipped with quadband GSM (850/900/1800/1900MHz) and triband HSDPA (850/900/2100MHz) connection, while the  Aino (A) has 850/1900/2100MHz connectivity for the Americas.

It sports a 3.0″ TFT screen with a resolution of 240×432 pixels, capable of rendering 16M colours.

The camera department is well armed with a 8.1 megapixel sensor equipped with autofocus and LED flash in the optics, and software support for touch focus, geo-tagging, face detection, image stabilizer, smart contrast, red-eye reduction. The device also supports videocalls over 3G networks.

Other high-end specifications include Bluetooth, DLNA-certified Wi-Fi, an accelerometer (motion sensor), microSD memory card slot (expandable up to 16GB, 8GB included), USB 2.0 connectivity, and A-GPS.

The Aino will be available in two colours: Obsidian Black and Luminous White, and will start shipping in fourth quarter of 2009.

Sony Ericsson Yari

Live image of Yari shown with gesture gaming in action (Source:hardwarezone.com.sg)

Live image of Yari shown with gesture gaming in action (Source: HardwareZone)

With Yari, Sony Ericsson is taking mobile gaming to the next level by incorporating gesture controls and motion control gaming into mobile devices. While motion control utilises the built-in accelerometer, which has become a norm with most of the phones today, gesture control has been widely used by manufacturers for launching applications and unlocking. For the first time, gesture control has been used for gaming in Sony Ericsson’s Yari.

One of the preloaded games shown in CommunicAsia was Yari’s boxing game, which utilises the phone’s front camera for capturing boxing motion, used as a control input for the game. Sony Ericsson has promised a series of games that will incorporate gesture and motion control gaming to go along with its tagline for Yari – Twist, tilt, turn, smash – gesture gaming is here.

Some of the hardware specifications of Yari include quadband GSM (850/900/1800/1900MHz) connectivity, dualband HSDPA (900/2100MHz) and triband connectivity for Yari (a) with 850/1900/2100MHz for Americas; a 2.4″ TFT screen 240×320 pixels of resolution capable of rendering 256k colours, a 5.1 megapixel camera with autofocus, LED flash along with geo-tagging, face detection and image stabilizer.

Other hardware specifications include Bluetooth, an accelerometer (motion sensor), microSD memory card slot (expandable up to 16 GB, 1 GB included), USB 2.0 connectivity, and A-GPS.

The Yari will be available in two colours: Achromatic Black and Cranberry White, and will be available in markets starting fourth quarter of 2009.

While Sony Ericsson did not announce any new handsets at CommunicAsia, they did generate a lot of interest in the crowd here with its innovative solutions from the existing mobile technologies. Journalists showed interest by Aino’s remote media streaming and synching capability, along with Yari’s unique motion and gesture controlled gaming. The Satio was the biggest crowd puller with its high-end optics and impressive design, along with Symbian operating system. The success of these devices will depend as much on their pricing as the timing of their launches in the respective markets.

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By , Chief International Correspondent on Jun 18th, 2009 GMT +2

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