JAPANESE PHONE MAKER Sony's Xperia U smartphone is now available in the UK.
UK mobile operator Three announced that a 4GB model of the handset is on sale through its web site today in black, and will be in stores from tomorrow.
The phone has a customisable design with changeable coloured caps that fit onto the base of the handset. It features a 3.5in display, 1Ghz processor, 5MP camera and runs the disappointingly outdated Android 2.3 Gingerbread operating system.
Three said that the Xperia U will be available from £15 a month on an "Essential Internet 100" plan and £20 a month on its "Essential Internet 500" plan, both of which offer free mobile internet with no additional data charges. If you'd prefer to buy the device outright, the phone will be available on pay as you go for £179.99.
Rival operators O2 and T-Mobile have yet to stipulate their official release dates for the handset, but both say on their 'Coming Soon' web pages that it will be available in May. The Orange web site says nothing more than "coming soon", while there is no suggestion from Vodafone that it will be offering the phone on any of its plans.
Sony's new range of Xperia handsets has had plenty of attention since its announcement at Mobile World Congress in February. It is the firm's first line of smartphones since completing the buyout of its joint venture with Ericsson and rebranding its mobile division to drop the Ericsson name.
However, shipping the Xperia U smartphone with Android 2.3 Gingerbread is likely to disappoint users who are expecting the most up-to-date operating system with better features. µ