There were whispers all week that Sony Ericsson would be releasing a line of eco-friendly cellphones today – and it turns out that the rumors were true. The telecom giant debuted 2 new green handsets, the Naite and the C901 cybershot phone in a live webcast that took place at 1PM GMT in London today. The sleek new phones are tangible manifestations of the GreenHeart concept phone, which Sony Ericsson came up with way back in 2008 as its way of letting consumers know that it, too, was on the green bandwagon. Those who doubted that the GreenHeart concept would ever come to fruition need not wonder any longer as Sony Ericsson is just about ready to bring their new eco-friendly phones to the market.

In addition to in-phone e-manuals, which save about half a kilo of paper per phone, the phones boast reduced packaging, energy-saving chargers, 100% recycled headsets and the ability to recycle the phone when the consumer is done with it. Although they may seem like small steps, these simple changes make quite a dent. For example, eliminating the paper manual and incorporating it into the handset is the major factor in reducing the carbon footprint of the phone by 15%.

Although Sony Ericsson is certainly not the first to debut an eco-conscious cell phone model, the fact that it took the time to do market research and see which green features are most useful is commendable. Hopefully, other makers will follow their slow and steady example rather than race to release models with the “green” label stamped on them. And like we always emphasize on Inhabitat, it certainly helps that the new GreenHeart models are desirable and pleasing to the eye. After all, there really is little point in spending energy and resources making an eco-friendly phone if no one wants to own it.

The C901 will be available in Europe and other select locations in several weeks and the Naite is expected to hit the market in early Q4.

Photos courtesy of Engadget

+ Sony Ericsson GreenHeart