Sony Ericsson is to go after the Blackberry email handheld market with a new handset launched today designed for messaging.

The M600 is being positioned as an email tool and mobile phone with touch screen and handwriting recognition capabilities.

Looking like a cross between its P990 and K700 handsets the M600 is the second Symbian OS 9.1 and UIQ 3.0 enabled phone in the Sony Ericsson portfolio.

New push email applications such as RIM's BlackBerry Connect Service are included, as well as, remote synchronisation and expandable memory. The phone even utilises the same two functions per button action found on the RIM 7100 series.

Seeing the huge demand and popularity of emailing on the go the Sony Ericsson's Corporate Executive Vice President, Head of Sales and Marketing, Jan Wäreby said: “Estimates show that there are approximately 650 million business email users around the globe, and the demand for true mobile email is growing rapidly.

“While there are some standalone email messaging devices available, many people will welcome fast and easy messaging tools integrated into their mobile phone."

The 15mm thick phone features a 3-way Jog Dial for controlling the menu interface, a 2.6-inch 262K colour QVGA screen and 3G connectivity for faster access speeds to both the Internet and email messaging.

The M600 has 80MB onboard memory for storing email attachments and multimedia content and an additional 64MB Memory Stick Micro in the box.

The M600 is available in Granite Black and Crystal White and starts shipping during Q2 2006. The different regional variations of the M600 are:

M600i - Dual Mode UMTS 2100 MHz, GPRS 900/1800/1900MHz for Europe, Middle East, Africa, Asia Pacific and the Americas

M600c - Dual Mode UMTS 2100 MHz, GPRS 900/1800/1900MHz for Mainland China (Launch for mainland China dependent on availability of 3G services.)

M600 will be available in 4 hardware keyboard variants: QWERTY, QWERTZ, AZERTY and Russian