Sony Ericsson updates flagship smartphone

The P990, which uses the latest Symbian OS, lets users connect over 3G or Wi-Fi

Sony Ericsson has updated its range of smartphones by launching a new model, the P990, pictured below .

The P990 is based on Symbian 9.1, the latest version of the smartphone operating system. It supports two wireless networking standards — 3G and 802.11b — to help users get high-speed access to the Internet on the move.

The phone has a high-resolution colour screen and a two-megapixel camera. It includes 80MB of memory and comes with a 64MB Memory Stick. In addition, it has a numerical keyboard that can be flipped down to reveal a half-size qwerty keyboard.

The P990 follows earlier successful Sony Ericsson phones, such as the P800, P900 and P910. With this latest device, Sony Ericsson has reduced the size of the screen, and also appears to have simplified the user interface.

The P990 was launched at the Symbian Smartphone show in London on Wednesday, where Sony Ericsson officials insisted that there was a place for cameras even on phones aimed at businesspeople.

Rikko Sakaguchi, senior vice-president for product and application planning, defended the P990's form factor.

"People say to us that 'you have stick phones, the world is changing, you need to offer a clamshell', but we will stick with stick phones because they're handy and they're small," said Sakaguchi.

Users keen to get their hands on the P990 will have to be patient, as it doesn't ship until the first half of next year. Sony Ericsson says it has announced the P990 now to give software developers more time to create applications for the phone. It runs on the UIQ 3 software platform, which allows coders to write applications that will run on phones from different manufacturers without needing to be rewritten.

A picture of Sony's P990 phone, with the keyboard flipped down
The P990