Sony Ericsson Packs In the Pixels With New Camera Phone

Sony Ericsson is aiming to polish the image of cellphone cameras, which are typically associated with low-resolution, poorly lit, badly focused snapshots. The company’s new C905a Cyber-shot camera phone, available through AT&T on Sunday, features an 8.1 megapixel camera.

Sony Ericsson C905a

Sony Ericsson C905a Cyber-shot

This will be at least the second camera phone in the U.S. market offering over 8 megapixels; recently Samsung announced the Memoir, available through T-Mobile.

The Sony Ericsson C905a Cyber-shot will be priced at US$179.99 after a $50 mail-in rebate and a two-year service agreement, and it will be available both online and at AT&T stores.

Many of its features are similar to those of the Samsung Memoir.

The Lowdown on the C905a

Sony Ericsson’s new Cyber-shot is a slider 3G phone with dedicated camera buttons and shortcuts.

It incorporates several features more often associated with pocket digital cameras than with phones that also happen to have cameras. It has a 2.4-inch, scratch-resistant, mineral glass camera screen; face detection; a Xenon flash with red-eye reduction; and Smart Contrast. For still shots, it has BestPic technology, which captures seven successive photos with one click so users can select the best one.

Users can record videos and share real-time streaming videos through AT&T Video Share.

Other features include an FM radio, mobile email, instant messaging and music playback. Users can do over-the-air music downloads through Napster Mobile and eMusic Mobile via AT&T Music.

Users can also print pictures directly to PictBridge-compatible printers or upload them to computers with a USB cable, which is included with the device.

The Tech Specs

The C905a measures 4.1 by 1.9 by 0.7 inches and weighs 4.8 ounces. It has a 240 by 320 pixel color TFT (thin film transistor) QVGA screen and is available in black, silver and gold.

The C905a has 160 MB of memory and comes with a 2-GB M2 stick (Memory Stick Micro). The actual amount of free memory will depend on how the phone is preconfigured.

Some reviewers have spanked the C905a for using the M2 stick, which they contend is not as widely used as the SD and micro SD card formats.

AT&T did not respond to requests for comment by press time.

About the Samsung Memoir

The Memoir, which T-Mobile unveiled in February, consists of a combo 8-MP camera with video capture and playback; a music player; a 3G phone with photo caller ID; and Web-browsing capability.

It uses stereo Bluetooth wireless technology and comes with a variety of instant messaging flavors — Yahoo, Windows Live and AIM. It also offers picture messaging and comes with a USB cable.

The device has a 2.64-inch touchscreen interface with 240 x 400 pixel resolution, autofocus, Xenon flash, and 16x digital zoom. Users can send pictures directly to My Album Online, Flickr, Kodak Gallery, Photobucket, or Snapfish.

Users can customize the Memoir with widgets on the home screen.

Other features include a built-in assisted GPS with TeleNav GPS Navigator, a full touch virtual Qwerty keypad, and an accelerometer.

Pricing is $199.99 with a two-year service agreement, T-Mobile USA spokesperson Tom Harlin told TechNewsWorld.

The New Norm: More Bang for the Buck

The Samsung Memoir and Sony Ericsson C905a seem to be setting a trend of offering consumers an increasing number of features at a lower price.

For example, the Sony Ericsson C902 Cyber-shot camera phone, which includes MP3 playback and FM radio, is a 5.0-MP camera phone listed at $549.99, reduced to $449.99.

The iPhone has only a 3-MP camera, and is listed at $199.99 for the 16-GB version with a two-year contract, though it offers several additional features not necessarily targeted at photography.

Prices on new pocket digital cameras typically bottom out at a few dollars below the C905a’s post-rebate cost — but, of course, they don’t double as cellphones.

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