Nokia today continued to push the boundaries of mobile phone design with the launch of its latest square-shaped handset.

The 7600 will support 2G (second generation) GSM (global system for mobile communications) and GPRS (general packet radio service) technologies operating in the 900MHz and 1800MHz frequency bands, as well as the new 3G (third generation) mobile broadband networks based on WCDMA (wideband code division multiplex access) technology.

It will be available to operators and retailers in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) for a recommended retail price of under £350.

Customers can take pictures with a built-in camera and view them on an illuminated display with over 65,000 colours. They can send both still pictures and video clips via MMS (multimedia messaging service) at speeds up to 384Kbps (kilobits per second), Nokia said.

An integrated music player can play up to 50 minutes of near-CD quality music saved in MP3 or AAC (advanced audio coding) format in the handset's internal memory. Other features include polyphonic ring tones and support for Java applications.

Nokia claims that the 7600, weighing 123g and measuring 87x78x18.6mm, is the smallest GSM/WCDMA phone in the world.

But one feature is missing in the 7600 and its predecessor, the 6650: mobile video telephony.

"We don't see consumers particularly inspired by video telephony right now," said Nokia spokesman Damian Stathonikos. "We believe they are more interested in so-called 'see-what-I-see' services, which allow them to take pictures or record a video with sound and send that to friends.

Nokia opted to exclude the video phone function not for cost or technology reasons but because the company "simply doesn't see any demand for this service now," Stathonikos said. "As 3G networks mature, we will look at adding that functionality."