Secretive Sony Ericsson shows 12.1-megapixel camera phone

But company mum on details of the upcoming Idou device.

Sony Ericsson is working on a touchscreen phone with a 12.1-megapixel camera it announced on Sunday, but details on the upcoming Idou device was scarce.

The company did say that the Idou will come equipped with a 3.5-inch touchscreen in the 16:9 format and a Xenon flash.

Just like when the Sony Ericsson launched the Xperia X1, at Mobile World Congress last year, it will take many months before the Idou -- which is only the concept name, according to Sony Ericsson -- shows up in shops. The phone will start selling during the second half of 2009.

Keeping the momentum going from now until then will be a challenge for Sony Ericsson, according to Ben Wood, analyst at CCS Insight. It also gives competitors like Samsung the opportunity to launch and start selling devices with similar specifications ahead of Sony Ericsson, he said.

The Idou is based on what will become the Symbian Foundation operating system; the upcoming open source version of the Symbian operating system. It competes with, for example, the Goggle backed Android platform. Sony Ericsson is working on a phone based on that platform as well, but isn't ready to announce any details yet.

Closer to being in stores is the W995 Walkman, which will be available during the second quarter. The phone comes with an 8.1-megapixel camera, support for AGPS (Assisted Global Positioning System) and a bunch of music features, including a 3.5mm audio jack. It surfs the using either Wi-Fi or HSPA (High-Speed Packet Access). Pricing was not announced.

Many upcoming Sony Ericsson phones will, just like the W995, combine music and camera plus also something extra -- which, for example, can be support for watching movies on the device.

To back that up Sony Ericsson is also working on a movie download service, which eventually will fall under the Play Now umbrella. But yet again Sony Ericsson is frugal with the details.

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Mikael Ricknäs

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