Sony Ericsson to close Kista development centre

Mobile phone manufacturer Sony Ericsson gave redundancy notices to 130 employees on Wednesday in conjunction with plans to close a development centre in Kista, north of Stockholm.

The announcement came on the same day the company previewed a new touch screen mobile phone.

Negotiations with unions are already underway, according to a statement from the Swedish-Japanese mobile handset maker.

Roughly 100 consultants tied to the development centre are also in danger of losing their jobs.

“The closing of the development centre in Kista is connected to a global restructuring and streamlining programme we launched last year. It encompasses roughly 2,000 employees,” Sony Ericsson spokesperson Gustaf Brusewitz told the TT news agency.

“We expect to have it completed by the middle of next year.”

The news came on the heels of a Wednesday morning press conference during which Sony Ericsson previewed its new X10 touch screen mobile phone, which is set to run on the Google Android operating system.

The company hopes the phone, set to be launched sometime during the first quarter of next year, will catapult Sony Ericsson to the front of the mobile touch screen pack.

Ever since the launch of iPhone, Sony Ericsson’s results have suffered due to a lack of models able to compete with the much heralded Apple handset.

Sony Ericsson said it also plans to launch several additional touch screen mobile phones during the first half of 2010.

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Self-driving test buses in Sweden to go faster

Testing of self-driving buses in Stockholm is set to be expanded.

Self-driving test buses in Sweden to go faster
Photo: Marko Säävälä/TT

The driverless vehicles, which are being tested in the Kista tech and business district, will drive at speeds of 20 kilometres per hour, reports SVT.

Previous high speeds for the tests were restricted to 12 kilometres per hour.

Since January, two electric self-driving buses have plied a one-and-a-half kilometre stretch of road between the Kista Galleria shopping mall and the Scandic Victoria Tower hotel. That number will be increased in the summer, according to SVT's report.

A designated driver has been on board the buses during the test operation in case of emergency, as is required under current legislation in Sweden.

“We have tested at a difficult time of year with a lot of snow and it has exceeded expectations,” Peter Hafmar, CEO of operating company Nobina Technology, said to SVT.

Surveys conducted by researchers from Stockholm’s Royal Institute of Technology have shown passenger responses to the driverless buses to be mostly positive, according to the broadcaster’s report.

A fatal accident earlier this month involving a self-driving Uber vehicle in Arizona, United States is not reported to have had a negative affected on responses.

A further trial of the buses is also expected to be rolled out in Gothenburg in the near future.

READ ALSO: IN PICTURES: Sweden's first driverless buses hit the streets