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DoCoMo Halts Sales of Latest Sony Cell Phone

Japan’s dominant mobile phone service provider NTT DoCoMo Inc announced on Friday that it has suspended sales of Sony Corp’s latest handset featuring an advanced version of its popular “i-mode” Internet access service due to a software glitch.

A spokeswoman for NTT DoCoMo said about 420,000 units of the Sony phone model “SO503i” have been sold since its launch on March 9 this year, and would be replaced if customers wished. She declined to confirm the potential cost of the replacement or say when sales of the model were likely to resume.

DoCoMo said the glitch could affect a database downloaded into the Sony phone when a user is upgrading an application that accesses the Internet and employs Java, a versatile software technology that allows for enhanced functions.

But such malfunctioning occurs only in very limited cases and the user still can make phone calls or use “i-mode” e-mail or other usual Internet services, DoCoMo said.

A Sony spokesman said the company wanted to fix the software glitch so sales of the model could be resumed as soon as possible.

The sales suspension come just when the electronics giant has accelerated its drive to boost its presence in the handset market by forming an alliance with Swedish telecoms equipment maker Ericsson (news – web sites)

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