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MWC 2008

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SE: smartphones SE: Cyber-Shot & Walkman Samsung  

Feb 11, 2008, 1:03 AM   by Eric M. Zeman and Rich Brome
updated Feb 13, 2008, 9:48 AM

On the scene at Mobile World Congress. Hands-On with new Samsung finger-touch phones, Modu, Google Android, S60 3.2, S60 Touch, plus new phones from Sony Ericsson, Nokia, LG, and more.

Sony Ericsson pulled out all the stops at this year's show. Most of their new phones were major announcements, and there were a lot of them.

The G-series is all-new for Sony Ericsson. It represents an interesting direction for Sony Ericsson and the UIQ platform these phones use.

First, these phones mark the long-promised move of UIQ into Sony Ericsson's mainstream consumer phones. These phones look and work like normal bar-style phones with normal keypads, unlike SE's past UIQ smartphones, which were more specialty devices.


Second, SE has added support for finger-touch navigation in a few key areas. It's not quite on the level of the iPhone or LG's Prada and Viewty, but it's a decent first step for UIQ, a platform that has sometimes been slow to evolve.

The UI has a top layer that can be operated completely with your fingers. Much like the easy-to-use UI that sits on top of Windows Mobile on T-Mobile's Shadow, this new finger-touch UI on the Sony Ericsson's G-series only goes one or two levels deep. If you want to do anything beyond the basics, you're knee-deep in the traditonal UIQ interface.

G900 UI  

There are some exceptions: the camera and gallery applications have been tuned for finger use, for example. There's also a new "notes" application that emulates sticky notes, essentially. You'd typically use the stylus to create them and you can toggle between drawing and handwriting recognition modes. It's a neat app, although having to break out the stylus feels like a step backward, since smartphone technology in general seems to be moving decidedly away from stylus input.


The G900 is just like the G700, but steps up from a 3.2 megapixel camera to an auto-focus 5 megapixel unit. The G900 also has a really neat feature that lets you touch the part of the scene you want the auto-focus lens to focus on.

Last but certainly not least is the Xperia X1, Sony Ericsson's first Windows Mobile phone. The X1 is the first in a series of Xperia devices from the company.

Xperia X1  

There have been rumors of a Windows Mobile phone from Sony Ericsson in recent weeks, but most of us in the industry took them with a grain of salt, since Sony Ericsson has always been so closely tied the competing UIQ platform that the idea of a Windows Mobile phone from SE seemed almost... blasphemous.

The X1 is no "toe in the water", either. Sony Ericsson is diving right in and making their first Windows Mobile device a powerhouse that puts even most everything-but-the-kitchen-sink HTC devices to shame. The impressive list of features includes quad-band GSM, quad-band 3G with HSDPA (850/1700/1900/2100 MHz), 3-inch WVGA touch screen (800 x 480 pixels), GPS, Wi-Fi, and all of the standard features you'd expect like stereo Bluetooth, microSD memory card slot, etc. The camera is 3.2 megapixel with auto-focus, and it can record VGA video at 30 fps. An optical joystick also provides an alternative to the stylus for web browsing.

The design is slick, with metal components and a QWERTY keyboard that slides out in an "arc" motion, so the display is tilted up slightly when using the keyboard. It's not tiny, but it's actually surprisingly small for what's on board. In terms of size, it will compete very well against phones like the Nokia E90 and Tilt from HTC.

Sony Ericsson tried very hard to tout the "Xperia Panels" feature. In fact, it's the only part of the interface they would let anyone look at on the demo units.

The Xperia Panels feature looks neat enough, although it's not really clear what it does, exactly. Every time we asked a rep about specifics, we got different answers. They were decidedly shady about it.

The basic concept is that you can have up to 100 different custom "panels" - with nine active at any one time - that are each a shortcut to a different "experience", such as email or music.

What those "experiences" actually are is less clear, however.

Xperia X1 UI  

One rep explained it as a switcher for Today screens (interactive home screen themes). As the T-Mobile Shadow shows, home screens on top of Windows Mobile can be very powerful, so this is an interesting concept.

A different rep explained Xperia Panels as a "virtual desktop" feature, like "Spaces" in the new Mac OS X. Each panel would therefore be a separate instance of the Windows Mobile UI.

Yet a third rep described it more like simple shortcuts to your favorite applications and bookmarks.

I'm still not entirely sure what Xepria Panels are, and perhaps Sony Ericsson isn't sure yet, either.

It is pretty, though. It switches between vertical and landscape mode when you open or close the keyboard. A neat animation goes with that, and the orientation of the content in each little panel changes, too. There are both grid and fan options for viewing the panels.

Be sure to check out the video to see the sliding design and animated Xperia Panels graphics. You can also hear the SE rep say at the end that Windows Mobile is just "one of" the Xperia Panels. I don't think that's right, but then again I heard a lot of conflicting things about Xperia Panels that night.

About the author, Eric M. Zeman and Rich Brome:

Eric has been covering the mobile telecommunications industry for 17 years at various print and online publications. He studied at Rutgers Newark and University of Kentucky, and has a degree in writing. He likes playing guitar, attending concerts, listening to music, and driving sports cars.



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This forum is closed.


Mar 2, 2008, 11:12 PM

fm transmitter?

what does this mean exactly? I can listen to the radio on my phone without the headset plugged in?

Feb 20, 2008, 4:16 PM

Where's the Garmin Nuvifone??

The Nuivphone is amazing and will be the iPhone's strongest competitor. It will use Google applications (hopefully Android soon after) and, of course, Garmin navigation.

Why hasn't Phonescoop reported on the Garmin Nuvifone? Get on it. 🙂

We did report on it:

https://www.phonescoop.com/news/item.php?n=2712 »

We did make sure to check it out at MWC, but "it" was just a plastic dummy phone in a glass jar. Seriously.

We'll let you know when they have a real phone to show off, that ...

Feb 15, 2008, 2:52 PM

Samsung p960 / g400?

Were these phones not shown at the event??
We paid attention to the phones for the US, which were few and far between. ☚ī¸ There were no CDMA phones, and most GSM phones lacked the 850 MHz band.

Feb 12, 2008, 12:37 PM

Where is the Soul going to land?

Please say at&t... or at least a GSM provider...
No US carrier is expected to sell it directly. It is quad-band, though, so of course you will be able to buy it online and simply put your AT&T or T-Mobile SIM in it.

Feb 14, 2008, 12:53 PM

why can't we......

why can't we just make our own phones... the idea is... contact your fav. manufacturer (samsung, LG, etc) let them know exactly what u want in a phone. all the features, physical apperance, etc. i know it would be expensive, but i think it's a great idea and i'm pretty sure people would pay all that money to get a phone with everything they want and how they want it.... 😎 people would seriously stop complaining about their phones and what they wish they had and what they wish they didnt have lol 😁
You can in fact order your phone and choose what you want on it. Just like order your pc/laptop from the manufacturer.
http://www.zzzphone.com/ »

That would be the ultimate. I know I'd never buy another phone from a carrier ever again. I can just picture my phone now.

Feb 15, 2008, 11:32 AM

Toshiba Portege G450???

I have been hearing that this USB 3G modem also is an emergency phone but I haven't been able to see any specs on it? Does it work on is it quad-band GSM?

Feb 13, 2008, 1:08 PM

N78 for AT&T??

i bet they will carry this phone ... in 2009 😲
imagine that?
lately at&t's smartphone line has been full qwerty devices.
no love for us oldschool s60 fans.
Wireless Buddy

Feb 13, 2008, 12:35 PM

Motorola W181

I can see this phone being offered for free from prepaid carriers.
đŸ¤Ŗ đŸ¤Ŗ đŸ¤Ŗ đŸ¤Ŗ đŸ¤Ŗ
...in 1999 😁

Feb 13, 2008, 9:19 PM

Modu.. where have you been all my life?

Seriously, this is an excellent concept for a phone. You get 239804672309 devices in one (ok, maybe I'm a bit rich on hyperbole). I'm assuming that this device is 3G, since it hails from Europe; which WCDMA band does it use? Could you get a jacket that would give it WCDMA 1700 band access? Does it have jackets that include different antennae for different frequencies?

Does anyone else think this has the possibility to revolutionize the phone market?
it's funny how people think differently about different devices.
the moment i saw this modu, i thought what a wasteful fad.
a year or two from now, people are going to have jackets all over their junk drawers.
not for me.
i'd get an iphone b4 th...
It's GSM only. The 3G version comes in May 2009.

Feb 13, 2008, 11:24 AM


Will motorola come out with a phone that doesnt look like a razr, krzr or rizr. They have to be one of the least innovative companies around. the phones are just boring
ha ha, i was just thinking that. oh, another razr. yippie. I remember when the rizr came out. wow, its a slider phone like the razr. THATS the innovation? they really pushed the envelope with thinness and then said, ok, we're done. thank you.

Feb 13, 2008, 11:01 AM

Nokia N96

What is with this design they have going now with this horrible setup of buttons on the front? They should've left well-enough alone. They had the perfect setup on the existing N95. And I see that even after all the complaints about the original N95 battery dying too fast, which is why they stuck a 1200mAh in it now, they still go back to the 950mAh, from what I read on Phone Arena. I understand they're trying to make it slightly thinner, but c'mon, you're asking for it again. And another thing, this N81 look does not need to be applied to every new phone. It's a sharp look until you get to the keypads, and the fact that they all look the same now. I hope they don't do this to all their new phones.

Feb 13, 2008, 10:50 AM


Is it me or does it not look exactly like the iPhone menus

Feb 11, 2008, 11:18 AM


Im very interested in this phone, considering the quad band HSDPA. Does this mean that SE and T-Mobile have patched things up and ready to start selling phones again???
i hope so becuase im pretty excited about his phone... i love my blackberry but this seems to have everything you could want in a phone

Feb 11, 2008, 3:47 AM

f490 coming to Sprint (m800)

Sooner rather than later.

Kinda nice, but doesn't have slide out keyboard of u940 for verizon. There's also an ultra slim 3mp flip coming, seems more interesting than this.
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