Sharp has launched a new mobile phone in Japan that features a small Qwerty keyboard and a tool allowing users to easily update their blogs.

The Sharp 922SH went on sale today Softbank Mobile, Japan's number three cellular provider, and has a 3.5in display that folds out to the side so the phone can be used more like a miniature laptop than a traditional clamshell phone. The widescreen VGA display has a resolution of 854 pixel by 480 pixels.

The phone has an RSS reader and a PC-style web browser in addition to one more adapted to mobile use.

There's a three-row QWERTY keyboard above which sit hot keys for functions such as digital mobile TV and the camera. There are also buttons for phone functions, navigation keys and a shortcut key to Yahoo Mobile, the mobile internet service offered by Softbank, which is the largest shareholder in Yahoo Japan.

The phone works on the WCDMA (Wideband Code Division Multiple Access) used in Japan and the GSM (Global System for Mobile Communications) networks found elsewhere. Its features include Bluetooth and a 2-megapixel main camera and 110,000-pixel sub-camera for videoconferencing. It accepts Micro SD memory cards.

The phone measures 56mm by 116mm by 17mm and weighs 132g. Battery life is 250 minutes of talk time on WCDMA and 270 minutes on GSM with standby time at 340 hours and 310 hours respectively, said Sharp. TV viewing time is 4.5 hours.

The phone is locked to the Softbank network in Japan and there are no plans at present to launch it overseas.