Thanks to Claude Gravel of VoiceAge for the heads up
Sony Ericsson announced two new cell phones yesterday with “HD Voice Ready” among the many many features available. The GreenHeart(tm) Elm and Hazel phones are being billed as “green” choices with recycled plastics, free from hazardous chemicals, a low-power using charger, and minimized packaging.
However, HD voice fans should be most intrigued by the laundry list of voice features. “HD Voice Ready*” is listed among them, and “*” is defined as “Designed to support AMR-WB technology during the product lifecycle.” What form that design takes is unclear; the wording implies that the handset hardware can support AMR-WB but it isn’t clear if the codec is already loaded on the phone (most likely) or if it would be a firmware upgrade requiring some activation/download by a service provider.
Regardless of the implementation, it is likely those phones will show up as “supported devices” on mobile HD Voice networks in Europe over the next 12 to 18 months given that the average cell phone has a typical sales shelf life of two to three years at best before being displaced by better/faster/cheaper models. France Telecom/Orange would seem to be the most logical carrier to stock the devices.
The Sony Ericsson Elm will be available in Q1 2010 while the Hazel will appear in Q2 2010. Both phones are GSM and HSPA devices.