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Sony Ericsson cool with Android

Mobile-phone maker Sony Ericsson unveiled two new Android models in a bid to grab more of the burgeoning smartphone market.

The company, a joint venture between L.M. Ericsson and Sony Corp, plans to launch the Xperia ray and Xperia active models during the third quarter, its chiefmarketing officer Steve Walker announced.

The new models should help the company expand its 11% market share of the Android segment, Walker said.

"Android smartphones is a rapidly growing part of the market, and we see our share within that market growing," Walker told The Associated Press.

London-based Sony Ericsson, which saw its phone unit sales drop 23% in the first quarter from a year earlier, is moving away from cheaper phone models and seeking to take on Apple Inc's iPhone, Research in Motion's Blackberry and Nokia Corp's N9 in the higher-priced smartphone segment.

By 2015, about 60% of mobile phones sold in the Asia-Pacific region will likely be smartphones, up from 20% in 2010, Walker said.

"We made quite a fundamental shift in strategy and decided to focus a large part of our effort into smartphones, to focus on the mid- and high-end part of the business," he said. "In many markets, we see a dramatic shift from feature phones to smartphones."

The company said in April that smartphones accounted for more than 60% of its sales during the first quarter.

Sony Ericsson's latest models that run on Goggle Inc's Android platform, the Xperia ray and active, will likely be priced below the high-end Xperia arc, Walker said.

Xperia active is water resistant and works if fingers are wet or sweaty, while the Xperia ray seeks to combine a sleek design with a device that is 9.4mm thick.

Sony Ericsson also plans to introduce a less expensive model that highlights the texting service and is aimed at teenagers, Walker said.

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