New Sony Ericcson phones do what Apple and RIM don’t

Sony Ericsson has unveiled two new phones, each targeted to a specific segment of the market. But what they aren’t doing is competing with the iPhone or the Blackberry.

I recently got a hands-on with the phones, and the Sony Ericsson reps said they deliberately chose not to take on Apple or RIM, instead focusing on niches that both giants weren’t addressing. And each of these phones does cover a specific area in new and interesting ways.

Perhaps the coolest phone of the bunch is the C905 Cybershot. It’s really a camera that happens to have a phone on it, in every way from its inherent functionality to the way you hold the phone and the design of the buttons. It “feels” like a camera, but because it’s on the cellular network, you can geotag your photos with GPS and email them either over 3G or wifi. It also has face detection and smile shutter (which is a fancy way of saying it detects smiles in a photo), and it boasts a 8.1 megapixel camera (the best resolution on a phone thus far) and you can boost the included 2 gb of memory to 8 gb.

THe W705 Walkman phone is just as it sounds, a phone that plays audio. As an iPhone owner, that’s not much of a selling point for me, but Sony Ericsson has added a few twists to this teen-marketed device. They’ve added Facebook and Youtube applications to the phone, and an interesting feature is a continuing stream of Facebook status updates that float above the main menu when the phone isn’t in use. The phone also has an app called urMusic, allowing users to download songs and buy tickets through LiveNation. The W705 also includes wifi and 3g access.

The C905 Cybershot is $249.99 on a three year plan and is available now, and the W705 will be available soon for $149.95 on a three year plan.

So are either of these phones going to replace my iPhone? Well, no. As a dedicated Apple fanboy I’m inextricably tied to the Apple ecosystem. But I think Sony is smart to target point-and-shoot photographers and younger media-savvy users who can’t afford (or simply don’t want) the iPhone but still want high end music features and social networking on their phones.