S60 3rd

Symbian OS UIQ Section: Introduction/Reviews of UIQ smartphones
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  UIQ smartphones
SE P910
SE P910i Orange
SE P900
SE P800
Motorola A1010
Motorola A1000
Motorola A925
Motorola A920
BenQ P31
BenQ P30
Arima U300
Arima ASP805
  Motorola A920 in short
- Symbian OS 7.0
- UIQ 2.0
- 16-bit screen
- 8 MB internal memory
- MMC/SD memory cards
- Integrated VGA camera
- Built-in A-GPS
- Java MIDP 1.0
- Personal Java
- No Bluetooth
- "Three" operator certification - only certified programs can be installed and run
- Only available in "3" network
UIQ is a customizable pen-based user interface platform for media-rich mobile phones based on Symbian OS. UIQ offers users enchanting interaction through its pen-based user interface and large display. It is designed to offer easy access to the wide variety of data services in 2.5 and 3G networks. UIQ phones use large, touch sensitive screens (208-240*320 pixels, 12 or 16-bit color). The latest UIQ 2.1 release brings advanced UI personalisation with Themes, Java MIDP 2.0 and enhanced multimedia and network support.

Motorola A920 Communicator - First impressions

Launched on 28th August 2003, the new A920 was jointly developed by "3" and Motorola, exclusively for the "Three" mobile 3G network.

Motorola A920 Communicator is powered by Symbian OS 7.0 and the UIQ 2.0 user interface. Being jointly developed by 3 and Motorola and exclusively for the 3 video mobile network, the A920 is not only a tri-band (900/1800/1900 MHz) GSM/GPRS device, but also a fully featured 3G UMTS phone designed to showcase 3's person-to-person video calling capabilities, as well as its exclusive video content.

A920 weighs 212 g and its dimensions are 60 x 148 x 24 mm. Its 8 MB internal storage memory can be expanded using MMC or SD memory cards (up to 256 MB). Built-in VGA camera (640x480 pixels, 0.3 MP) can be used for taking both still pictures and movies as well as for 3's specific digital services like video calls (3G). Large (208x320 pixels), touch-sensitive, 16-bit (65,536 colors) screen, which can also hold up to 20 lines of text, provides perfect quality for watching videos, movie trailers, sports or news clips offered by the "3" network.

Being based on the same user interface and operating system as the first UIQ device - Sony Ericsson's P800 - the A920 is compatible with existing UIQ software (except for some applications using specific hardware or features only available on particular device). Unfortunately, the "Three" network operator has chosen to restrict the platform by incorporating a certification mechanism that allows installing and running only certified applications. This means that A920 users cannot use existing software made for the Sony Ericsson P800 until each single application is tested and certified by the "3" itself. This restriction makes almost 500 existing 3rd party programs completely useless for A920 users.

Another serious disadvantage is lack of Bluetooth support even though Bluetooth hardware is present. According to some reports, Three is going to enable Bluetooth at some later stage via a firmware patch. The standard Lithium-Ion battery provides 70 hours of standby, 1,5 hour of talk time or 1 hour of video calls, which is not an impressive result.

As you can see on the pictures, unlike other UIQ devices, the A920 doesn't have any hardware keypad. Everything is carried out using a stylus and Motorola's proprietary QuickPrint handwriting recognition engine. Users can also use iTap software for writing text and messages. A920 incorporates AGPS (Assisted Global Positioning System) providing support for location based services and also 'typical' GPS based navigation.

The following screenshots show some A920 specific applications and the look&feel of the A920's user interface:

Motorola A920 - PROs AND CONs

  • the first Symbian OS & UIQ based 3G terminal
  • dual 2.5G and 3G support: tri-band GSM/GPRS (900/1800/1900 MHz) and UMTS
  • 16-bit screen (65,536 colors)
  • support for 3G services: video calls, streaming video at 3G speeds etc.
  • support for MMC/SD memory cards (up to 256 MB of additional storage memory)
  • built-in digital video camera (VGA - 640x480, 24-bit)
  • full phone and PDA functionality
  • Personal Java and Java MIDP 1.0
  • synchronization, conversion and data exchange with PC
  • support for multimedia
  • Opera WWW browser
  • AGPS (Assisted Global Positioning System)
  • software certification making it impossible to use hundreds of existing Sony Ericsson P800 applications
  • inactive Bluetooth
  • large and heavy
  • reduced battery life
  • external antenna
  • only available in "Three" networks

Motorola A920 Communicator is the first dual 2.5G/3G device based on the Symbian operating system and the UIQ user interface. It provides full phone and PDA functionality and takes advantage of modern, advanced 3G services like video calls or watching streaming video at 3G transfer speeds and nearly broadcast quality. We would call it a perfect PDA/smartphone if not the certification mechanism preventing users from taking advantage of hundreds of exisiting UIQ applications and making it difficult for freeware/shareware developers to offer new programs by forcing them to pass the 3's testing and certification process (and most probably pay for it).

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