Sony Ericsson has announced today the launch of its next generation smartphone, the P990. The new model will be 3G and Wi-Fi enabled, have a 2 megapixel camera with autofocus and feature a new hardware keyboard beneath the flip-down keypad.

The P990 is the next in a line of successful Sony Ericsson smartphones - the P800, P900 and P910 - and is based on the same concept and recognisable form factor.

The P990 will be the first commercially available smartphone to adopt the enhanced Symbian OS version 9.1 and UIQ 3 software platform and because of this Sony Ericsson want to give developers plenty of time before the phone launches early next year.

The 3G phone will be capable of video calling, high-bandwidth multi-media downloads and the ability to browse the Internet with full HTML pages. These are viewed in landscape on the new Opera 8 browser. In addition, the P990 is prepared for all major push email clients enabling full email access with attachments, anywhere, anytime.

The phone features a 2.8 inch QVGA 262k touch screen, 80Mb of user free memory, a 64MB Memory Stick PRO Duo card in the box and the ability to take up to 4GB when the memory size becomes available next year.

The P990 will be commercially available in Q1 2006. The variants will be:

- P990i Dual mode UMTS (2100MHz) - GPRS 900/1800/1900 for Europe, Asia Pacific, Middle East, Africa

- P990c Dual mode UMTS (2100MHz) - GPRS 900/1800/1900 for Mainland China. Launch for mainland China dependant on availability of 3G services.

- The P990 will be available in four hardware keyboard variants: QWERTY, QWERTZ, AZERTY and Russian