Sony Ericsson has announced the arrival of the Xperia active handset, a compact little smartphone designed with the types of people who enjoy the gym in mind - you know, mad people.

The active is an Android 2.3 handset that is both dust proof and water resistant. And when we say water resistant we don't just mean that it can be used in the rain - the phone can be kept under 1m of water for 30 mins and even boasts wet finger tracking so as it still responds when either the screen or a user's fingers are wet. So technically you could take it swimming (no deep diving though).

Hardware wise, it packs a 1GHz processor has a 5-megapixel camera with LED flash and auto-focus that is also capable of 720p video recording and a 3-inch Reality Display with Mobile Bravia Engine (320x480).

There's not much memory on board (just 320MB) but it will ship with a 2GB microSD, and is capable of handling a 32GB one.

Battery life is good, with a stand-by time of over 300 hours, with 4-6 hours of talktime or 25 hours of music playback.

In the box you'll also get an extra exchangeable soft touch back cover, detachable ear hooks for the portable handsfree active headset, a wrist strap to keep the phone close at all times and an arm case for use during a workout.

Tennis star Maria Sharapova is a big fan of the active (either that or she's been paid some big bucks to be nice). She said: "I love this smartphone because it perfectly fits both my professional and personal needs. It keeps me in touch with my friends as I travel the world on the pro tour and tracks my fitness both on and off the court."

Out in Q3 2011, prices are still to be confirmed.