SE's three budgeteers

Sony Ericsson today launched three budget phones for the technophobe with tight purse-strings. The J220, J230 and Z300 are all entry-level simpletons

Sony Ericsson today launched three budget phones for the technophobe with tight purse-strings.

The J220, J230 and Z300 are all entry-level simpletons, shunning anything as advanced as a camera, MP3 player or e-mail functionality in favour of an idiot-proof interface.

The J220 and J230 have a 128x128 pixel, 65k display, 500-capacity phone book and a 280 hour stand-by battery. The J230 also ups the tech ante with an FM radio.

Their other main feature is a customisable menu system, which can be changed from the traditional multi-icon interface to a single icon system. This should ensure that, like Vodafone's Simply phones, even your pet dog will be able to navigate the features.

The Z300 is a more feminine variation on the same theme, with the same display and features plus personalisation options with Style-Up covers.

The J220 and J230 will be available in Q1 2006, while the Z300 will be out before Christmas. There's no pricing info as yet.

Sony Ericsson's Vice President of Product Marketing Steve Walker told Stuff: "The new phones are about addressing everyone's needs. The entry-level sector isn't completely new to Sony Ericsson – we've had products like the T100, T230 and T200 – but we wanted to expand the range by adding really good screens and not confusing people with features they don't need."

Stuff also asked Mr Walker about other future Sony Ericsson products. He remained tight-lipped about a rumoured stripped-down version of the P990 called the P970, which web whispers suggest will lose the keyboard, 3G and Wi-Fi in favour of a slashed price.

On the subject of the Walkman phone's future battle with hard-drive phones like the Nokia N91, though, he said: "For the time being we think internal storage and Memory Sticks are the solution for big storage, due to the reasons of durability, cost and battery performance. Hard-drives can be unreliable, particularly as a phone can be subjected to harsher treatment than an iPod."

So, it looks like the Walkman phone will be battling Nokia and Samsung's hard-drive efforts with its Memory Stick Pro Duo cards (which can so far go up to 2GB) for the forseeable future. Look out for a Stuff test pitting the N91 and new 3G W900 head-to-head soon.

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