Hot off the FCC press are these here W712a and Z712a clamshells from Sony Ericsson; astute readers may notice a striking similarity to the W710 and Z710 models announced a couple months back, save for a couple of odd changes. First, and perhaps most depressing, you'll notice that the 712s feature brutally unattractive black stub antennas, whereas the 710s do not. Secondly, the draft manuals and test reports published for these new pieces list them as dual-band GSM 850 / 1900 (read: North American) handsets. So the obvious question is: what the heck? If your W710i and Z710i are already quad-band and lack the ugly-ass external antennas, why reinvent the wheel? Are we missing something here, folks?
Update: Several folks have pointed out the "HAC" sticker, indicating that these handsets are hearing aid-compliant. What exactly that has to do with the external antennas and the removal of two perfectly good GSM bands, however, remains a mystery.