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Sony Ericsson phone will be out in time for Christmas

The launch of Sony Ericsson's latest top-of-the-range mobile phone may be delayed, but it should make the shops in time for Christmas.

The P800, a tri-band phone with a 230 x 320 pixel colour touch screen, built-in digital camera and simple PDA functionality, was announced in March. Sony Ericsson said at the time that the phone would be available in the third quarter of this year and demonstrated it at various events around the world.

"We start shipping the P800 to operators in a few weeks' time. It should be in shops before Christmas," said Peter Bodor, a Sony Ericsson spokesman. "It just took a bit longer than expected to get it ready."

Nokia seems to have won this particular features race. Its 7650, which has a built-in camera, was launched late June. Sony Ericsson however, earlier triumphed over Nokia when its T68 - the first handset with a colour screen - launched in Europe.

Carolina Milanesi, an analyst with Dataquest, a unit of Gartner, believed the P800 delay was unlikely to bother many mobile phone users.

"Taken that it is not a low-end phone, I don't think that people are waiting for it," she said, adding that Sony Ericsson hit the right track with the T300, which competes with Nokia's 3300 series. The T300, due out later this year, has a colour screen and a small price tag, according to Sony Ericsson.

Sony Ericsson has not said why the P800 is launching late, although Dataquest's Milanesi guessed that it could be either a marketing move to launch the phone just before Christmas, or a manufacturing problem.

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