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Sony Ericsson sets 3G phone launch

The phone, which is undergoing its final paces to prepare for launch, will be the company's first model that can be used for video conferences.

Sony Ericsson plans a January launch for its first mobile phone that will run on third-generation networks and can be used for video conferences.

Philip Rambech, Sony Ericsson's U.K. and Ireland managing director, told journalists this week that the Z1010 is undergoing its final testing right now.

Two-way video calls--a key third-generation (3G) feature--are already working successfully on the Z1010, he said.

The Z1010 will work on Universal Mobile Telecommunications System (UMTS), or 3G, networks as well as over GSM (Global System for Mobile Communications) networks. It has two displays--a main screen plus a smaller one on the outside of the handset--and two cameras. In addition to video conferencing, it will support Multimedia Message Service (MMS), e-mail, Sony's Memory Stick format and Bluetooth wireless networking.

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. Analysts say 3G phones will also aid the cell phone industry overall. Last month, Motorola unveiled the A920 3G phone, the first Motorola handset to run on the Symbian operating system.

Graeme Wearden of ZDNet UK reported from London.