The first 3G mobile phone made by Sony Ericsson should hit the shops in January 2004, the manufacturer said this week.
Philip Rambech, Sony Ericsson's UK and Ireland managing director, told journalists that the Z1010 was being put through its final paces at the moment.
"It will ship in the first few weeks of 2004 -- it's in the final stages of interoperability testing now," said Rambech, speaking in London as Sony Ericsson launched three new phones and several accessories.Rambech added that two-way video calls -- a key 3G feature -- are already working successfully on the Z1010.
The Z1010 will work on UMTS, or 3G, networks as well as over GSM. It has two displays -- a main screen plus a smaller one on the outside of the handset -- and two cameras. As well as video-conferencing, it will support MMS, email, Sony's memory stick format and Bluetooth wireless networking.
Currently, Hutchison's 3 service is the UK's only commercial 3G network, although Vodafone is expected to follow suit before the end of 2003.
A Sony Ericsson spokesman was unable to say which operators will sell the Z1010, but Reuters reported last month that Hutchison is considering buying 3G devices from Sony Ericsson.
The arrival of another third-generation phone in the market could give a boost to the 3G sector, which has suffered from delayed network launches and a lack of handsets. Last month, Motorola unveiled the A920 3G phone, the first Motorola handset to run on the Symbian operating system.