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Sony Ericsson has officially announced the follow-up to the P800 smartphone. The device will ship in some EU countries before the end of the year, and appear in the US and China (as the P908) early next year.

The design of the P900 may be more business-like than its predecessor, but the company is stressing consumer functions such as video recording, games and imaging. The phone has a 65,000-color screen compared to the P800's 4096 colors, more memory and a faster CPU. Sony Ericsson boasts of 400 hours standby time. It's 2mm smaller all round. Sony Ericsson has retained the Memory Stick Duo format for expansion, which is more expensive than rival formats, and the device maxes out at 128MB, which is the size of the largest Duo card you can buy now.

It's been thoroughly previewed already on specialist phone sites. But, as Mobile Burn suggests, the more surprising news is that Sony Ericsson will offer over-the-air Fash upgrades: "Consumers [can] download the latest version of the phone software directly to the phone without having to visit a service centre," according to the company.

And there's a Flashy demo here.

Its closest competitors are Motorola's 3G phone, the software-compatible A920 and Handspring's impressive Treo 600, which we will review on Monday. PalmSource CEO David Nagel claimed that PalmSource was in talks with Sony Ericsson to license his operating system: a highly unusual claim which Sony Ericsson dismissed. A Palm source described Nagel's comments as "regrettable". ®

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