Nov 12, 2009

Sony Ericsson sees Q4 turnaround, announces new phones

In an interview with Reuters, Sony Ericsson CEO Hideki Komiyama said he thinks the global handset may strengthen in the third or fourth quarter of this year. However, he was vague on whether his company would need a fresh influx of cash by the beginning of next year.

"It's difficult to say definitively [whether the market has bottomed] but I can see the trend," Komiyama said.

He said the recovery would be weak, but could start by the middle of the third quarter and extend into the fourth quarter. The global handset market suffered its fastest rate of annual decline in handset shipments since 1984, according to Strategy Analytics.

Komiyama was noncommittal on the financial position of the joint venture between Japan's Sony and Sweden's Ericsson. "I don't know if we will need it or not," he said, referring to Sony's recent statements that Sony Ericsson will need about $135.5 million in new funds by next March.

In other Sony Ericsson news, the handset maker unveiled three new phones at a London press event. The Aino is a touchscreen and media-centric phone that allows users to connect to content on their PlayStation 3 gaming console.

The Yari is a gaming-centric phone that has Nintendo Wii-like gesture controls. And the Satio, previously named the Idou, sports a 12-megapixel camera, will run on the Symbian Foundation OS and will have a touchscreen user interface.

All three devices will be released in the fourth quarter, but Sony Ericsson declined to discuss whether they will be available to American shoppers.

"Regarding U.S. availability, we don't pre-announce which handsets will be availabe and with which carriers," a Sony Ericsson spokesman told FierceWireless. Interestingly, though, the devices do feature spectrum compatible with the U.S. Market.

By Phil Goldstein,

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