Driven by strong sales of Walkman line.

Driven largely by strong sales of its Walkman line of music phone, mobile phone manufacturer Sony-Ericsson beat analyst expectations by more than tripling its net profit for the quarter ending March 31.

The fifth-largest handset manufacturer—a joint venture between Sony Corp. and Ericsson—rose to US$132 million, from $32 million the same quarter last year. It shipped a total of 13.3 million devices in the quarter, a 41% increase over 9.4 million shipped in the same period last year.

Sony-Ericsson executives specifically praised its Walkman line of music-enabled phones for driving the surge. Company president Miles Flint said it has sold more than 5.5 million Walkman-branded phones since they were introduced in mid-August and were “big sellers” for the most recent quarter, largly in the Asian market.

The upbeat results caused the company to raise its forecast for 2006 worldwide phone shipments from 780 million to 900 million.