It’s black, it’s a slider: it’s Sony Eric’s new MP3 mob

The unstoppable juggernaut known as Sony Ericsson Walkman has struck again: this time with a double whammy of slider (W850i) and sports phone (W710i).

The unstoppable juggernaut known as Sony Ericsson Walkman has struck again: this time with a double whammy of slider (W850i) and sports phone (W710i). We’ll have the full skinny on the sporty beastie in a minute, but first, here’s the sliding wonder.

As gadget spotters will have noted, it bears a striking resemblance to Samsung’s mighty popular D600. Inside, though, it’s packing Sony Eric’s far superior OS, a 3G radio for video calls and zippy music downloads, plus the dedicated Walkman Music Player we’ve come to know and love.

Naturally, this version’s the latest – 2.0 – which packs in the album art feature we’ve been coveting on the 4GB W950i.

This phone also has two brand new party tricks. The first is the gimmicky one that we’ll pretend is beneath us before we spend all day using it: a keypad that lights up in time to the music you’re playing.

Second up is Track ID, a feature that sounds very similar to Shazam (dial 2580 on your phone) and the Venzero One MP3 player we scribbled about recently [story here].

It works by recording a clip of music using the phone’s mic or FM radio, then gets in touch over the web with GraceNote, has a little chat to decide whether it was the Rick Astley original or a cover, and then flashes up song and artist info on-screen.

Also worthy of a mention are the 2MP camera, 1GB Memory Stick Pro Duo bundled in the box – an extra 2GB’ll set you back £70 – and a choice of black or white for livery.

We’ll have pricing and a shop date for you before the day’s out.

3.30pm update: okay, so we won't have pricing 'til the phone launches, but we do know it's hitting the UK sometime between July and September.