Sony Ericsson is to launch two smart phones that offer an array of push e-mail systems including Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync and RIM's BlackBerry Connect.

Users will be able to synchronise both the P990 and the M600 handsets with Exchange Server 2003 to view e-mail, contacts and calendar entries. Enterprises using Service Pack 2 of the server software will be able to deliver the latest e-mail to employees via Microsoft's Direct Push technology.

But Sony Ericsson said that it wasn't going to lock users into Microsoft's platform on the phones, which will use Symbian OS 9.1 and the UIQ 3.0 software platform. Both devices will also support BlackBerry Connect, a software-based version of RIM's popular push e-mail technology. Other e-mail options will include iAnywhere's OneBridge and software from AlteXia, Intellisync., Seven and Visto. Standard IMAP e-mail will also be supported, and Ericsson Mobile Office will be provided free with the phones on a "try and buy" basis.

Push e-mail for mobile handsets, pioneered by RIM, has become a hotly competitive field. Microsoft is making inroads both with licensed ActiveSync software and with Windows Mobile OS devices, which have Exchange ActiveSync compatibility built in.

Sony Ericsson's P990 was announced last year in advance of its availability so developers could start working on applications for it. The handset includes Wi-Fi and a 2-megapixel camera. The M600, announced Monday, will have a touch screen with handwriting recognition. It will also have a dual-fuction keypad for dialing numbers and typing e-mail that can be configured for QWERTY, Russian and other layouts, according to Sony Ericsson.

Both handsets also will include trial versions of McAfee anti-virus and firewall software and Pointsec Mobile Technologies' encryption software.