Sony Ericsson's Xperia X10, an iPhone Killer?

As demand from Europe wanes amid the debt crisis, mobile handset maker Sony Ericsson hopes it can tap strong demand for smart phones in South Korea to spur growth this year. But it won’t be an easy task; analysts say Sony Ericsson’s Xperia X10, which is set to debut in the country later this month, won’t be an iPhone killer even if it’ll open up more choices for consumers in the high-growth smart phone category.

That’s because Apple’s (AAPL) iPhone is selling surprisingly well in South Korea since its debut in the market last year. And there are plenty of cheaper smart phones from local vendors such as Samsung Electronics and LG Electronics. Sony Ericsson is working with SK Telecom, South Korea’s biggest telecom operator by subscribers, to offer the handset for about $729.

Sony Ericsson, a joint venture between Japan’s Sony (SNE) and Sweden’s Ericsson (ERIC), has been struggling over the past few years to stay competitive in the global handset market. While it is the world’s fourth largest global handset maker by shipments behind Nokia (NOK), Samsung and LG Electronics, just until recently, it was mired in losses while others continued to make a profit.

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