Sony Ericsson's music-playing messenger

The M600 sexes up mobile e-mail with an iPod-esque design, and dumbs down the smart-phone tag.

Sony Ericsson has taken the wraps off its newest messaging-focused phone, which may remind you of an iPod but is not meant to remind you of a smart phone.

The M600 is the latest Symbian operating system-based phone to come out of the Sony Ericsson stable and is aimed at e-mail-hungry users. It comes with support for Microsoft's ActiveSync, Research In Motion's BlackBerry Connect and a number of others, including Intellisync and Seven's offerings.

Sony Ericsson phones

The device also comes equipped with scaled-down versions of Microsoft programs including Excel, PowerPoint and Word, as well as security software.

And, like the all-conquering BlackBerry, the device will come without a camera, in an effort to appeal to IT managers' budgetary sensibilities. It is also devoid of Wi-Fi capability.

In addition to capitalizing on the popularity of mobile e-mail, Sony Ericsson is hoping the device--which is just 15 millimeters thick and comes in black or white--will also charm the visually discerning.

"It's the iPod among messaging devices," said a Sony Ericsson spokesman. "A lot of consumers buy with their eyes."

Despite bearing all the hallmarks of the smart phone, such as a multitasking operating system, the device will be advertised to potential buyers as a messaging device, the spokesman said.

Sony Ericsson has also announced new functionality for the previously announced but yet-to-launch P990 smart phone, including the addition of push e-mail support, WLAN (wireless local area network) and business-card reading capability.

Both the P990 and the M600 will be available from the second quarter of this year.

Jo Best of reported from London.