Motorola and Microsoft have launched a clam-shell format cell phone, based on Microsoft's Windows Mobile 2003 Smartphone software.

Mobile network operator Orange will distribute the phone for use on its UK network from October, and AT&T will offer it in the US in the fourth quarter.

The Motorola MPx200 is the third Orange phone to use Microsoft's phone software. Orange launched the SPV, the first Windows Mobile 2003-based Smartphone available worldwide, in October last year, and brought out an upgraded version earlier this year. The SPV is made in Taiwan by High Tech Computer Corp. (HTC).

Orange has worked with Motorola to customise the phone to its own needs, Stuart Jackson, Orange's corporate communications manager said. Like the SPV, it comes branded with the Orange logo, has an Orange user interface, and offers services such as Orange Backup, where users can store their data on the Orange network in case of problems with their phone.

The MPx200 allows users to surf the Internet, access their e-mails and synchronise the phone with their PC. It includes an SD slot with a 16MB memory card (a 2G-byte card is available), an external speaker for listening to MP3 and Windows Media files and can play videos using Windows Media Player. A detachable camera is available separately.

In the UK the MPx200 will cost £239.99 with an Orange contract.

The phone will also be sold in Hong Kong from the fourth quarter and negotiations are under way with operators in other European and Asian markets, Amer Husaini, vice president and director of product operations for Motorola in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA), said.

Motorola and Microsoft plan to develop, jointly, a series of Smartphone and Pocket PC products, including a PDA (personal digital assistant), Husaini said. These will be made available internationally once partner operators are found, he said.

Orange has sold 100,000 SPV Smartphones in Europe, Jackson said. However, it's not the number of units so much, as the use that counts and the revenue from data services has been high, he said.

"The average user is accessing the Internet five times a day: 60 percent use it to get their e-mail and 85 percent have synched it with their PC. So people are really using them," he said.