There were not many exciting new devices and no iPhone-killers, really.
I was especially surprised by the “new” devices by Samsung, where the UI is worse than ever. While testing their new high-end U900 (not the SCH-U900 available in the US that is completely different), one of the guys working in the stand even made fun of me saying something like “Can you get it to work?”. The comment was actually appropriate, but certainly not a compliment to the device interface, in fact I kept pressing the wrong buttons because they were all “misplaced”. It’s true that there is not a right place for a key, but in a good UI they should be where you expect them to be. Here’s a picture thanks to gsmarena. The keypad in the middle changes icons depending on the menu you’re in and you immediately get used to it, but the two softkeys that are outside the pad, are actually needed for any confirmation. That’s unusual to me.
The only device that caught my attention was the Sony Ericsson X1, to be released around June 2008. It’s very interesting, but to me, it’s going the opposite direction of the iPhone. It is definitely overloaded of buttons and functionalities. You have 4 softkeys, a trackpad for scrolling, the touch-screen and you can slide it and have a full QWERTY keyboard. If this wasn’t enough, you can choose among 9 different screens, that is to say you pick a different screen configuration depending if you want to play music, use as a phone, use as a PDA and so on. The functionality of switching is pretty cool and reminded me of desktop transitions in OS X or Vista, but to me sounds like an admission that Sony Ericsson could not find an appropriate design that would match all the functionalities. Sounds a lot like “we couldn’t decide, so you do it” and I think the result will be that users will take advantage of 1 or 2 screens and probably half of the input devices available. The device runs Windows Mobile 6, another surprise, if you think that Sony Ericsson now owns UIQ. Last but not least, they already plan to sell a bigger battery in case the default one lasts too little for you.
Motorola, NEC, Panasonic, Samsung, NTT DoCoMo and Vodafone have launched the LiMo Foundation, to stimulate the development of Linux for mobile devices and most of all unite forces to make a common effort.
It looks like Vodafone lately is part of any possible alliance, .mobi, LiMo, the operators teaming to make mobile search engines…
Anyway, I had already posted about linux on mobile devices (Mobile Linux, ever taking off?) and they still have to convince me that the manufacturers really want linux on the mobiles.
Apple, in my opinion, is demonstrating once again that if they want to take an open-source OS and make a solid product, they can do it. They did it when originally launched OS X bringing a GUI that *nix systems had never seen and they are doing it again bringing their BSD/OS X to the iPhone.
OEM’s like Motorola have been producing linux-based devices for years, but never brought it to the mainstream devices.
Is the LiMo going to change this?
Can a foundation like this change anything? Where is Savaje Technologies? Wasn’t it a company built with a similar spirit? Name 5 mobile devices that run their operating system.
Sorry, I’m skeptical.
Samsung has launched a new contest for the development of the best Java/J2ME game for the new D900.
Prizes are actually very interesting, with a Grand prize of 20,000 USD.
You are required to subscribe to Sharewire, upload your game and then the final winner will be calculated summing the number of downloads and the votes casted by a number of “selected experts” evaluating innovation, fun, usability, graphics and sound quality.
Considering the high prize it is certainly interesting for new and young developers.
This is also a demonstration of how hard it can be for a developer or a small company to reach large audiences. Appearing in a big site or in an operator’s portal is not easy and often the top listed games are developed and distributed by large firms. Smaller companies generally don’t get the same visibility.
Not very different from the music and movie industries where big names are always highly visible and the less famous, but maybe as good (or better), are relegated in the back of shops or rarely aired by radios.
On one side I’m glad this could give a boost to someone and maybe provide some fresh money, on the other side it’s disappointing to think they have to give away a fresh and good idea (a game in this case) for free. This is a tough topic, I could write for hours and no one would reach the end of the post, so I won’t go down to the details of my thinking, but I’m sure I’m not alone. Internet gives you the possibility to reach anyone anywhere, but what you really need is a high position on a big site or on a search engine, otherwise it’s so crowded that nobody will see you.
The Developers Club is Samsung’s developers site. It’s been around for a few years now. It was on my list of sites to be reviewed here, but I’ll wait a little more. The overall vote would have been negative. There are some decent resources for J2ME development, but there is nothing about all the rest. Also, the site is accessible only using MSIE, not because it’s particularly complex, it’s very basic with a really bad forum and a list of downloadable file, but because the login page only works with MSIE. Firefox seems to login, but then you’re not.
I am going to wait for my reivew because I just received a newsletter that describes an overall rebuild. Here’s the original text, I’m sorry I can’t link to a web version of the newsletter, but I could not find it.
The renewal process of the Samsung Developers Club is nearing completion.
The new site features a comprehensive device information database and an enhanced forum in which you can create your own message-boards.The design of the site is based on the new Samsung Fun Club look and feel which is much more in keeping with the current brand guidelines and corporate image of Samsung mobile.
Further improvements include direct access to the device information from the front page. The database also allows users to compare different models as well as exporting data to Excel. This is surely a first for any developer support site. We hope to have ironed out any bugs before launch but ask you to bear with us in the first weeks as some glitches may take some time to be uncovered and resolved
I was searching for the Samsung ZM60 and I found its page on Samsung’s UK site.
As I usually do while searching, I go on Google and open 2-3 tabs in the background and then scan page titles and read contents. In this case the page title tricked me, because the page clearly talks about the ZM60, but the page title and URL are for the Z300.
I wonder if the author used the Z300′s page and updated it or the device was renamed and they forgot to change the title. It looks like I can’t find an official page for it and review sites posted pictures that look a lot like the ZM60.