Deutsche Telekom subsidiary T-Mobile is to start selling a smart phone running Windows Mobile software for less than €100 (US$121).

Dubbed Smart Digital Assistant (SDA), the tri-band phone starts selling in Germany in early October, with plans to roll it out in other European countries such as the UK, the Netherlands, Hungary, the Czech Republic and Austria, according to T-Mobile spokesman in Germany Husam Azrak. The phone will probably be launched in the US as well, although that decision has not yet been finalised, he added.

This is the first time T-Mobile has launched a smart phone running Microsoft software. Partnerships with large European operators are seen as particularly important to the software company, given the popularity of the Symbian mobile operating system in the region.

Motorola and Orange also offer Windows-based smart phones in Europe, but the SDA is the most affordable, according to Azrak. The phone is priced at €99.95 with a two-year contract, or €269.95 without a contract. "At below 100 euros, this is one of the most affordable phones with the properties of a smart phone and a Pocket PC," Azrak said.

The SDA includes a built-in camera and Bluetooth, weighs 100 grams and boasts a 65,000-colour screen, Azrak said. The battery lasts for 240 minutes of talk time, or 200 hours on standby, and the phone supports a memory card, he said.

The Windows Mobile software offers users calendar, Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint functions, has a PDF (Portable Document Format) reader and syncs with Outlook e-mail, Azrak said.