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SE P910
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Review of the Sony Ericsson P910i
Orange customisation and Signature programme

Our Sony Ericsson P910i review was published on 15 July 2004. Please, read it first if you are not familiar with the P910 - it contains detailed information about technical specifications and changes between the P910 and the previous P-series phones from Sony Ericsson. In this new review we'll introduce you a special version of the SE P910i, customised by and for the Orange network.

Orange customised phones are easy to distinguish because of the Orange logo on their casing. This, along with the Orange startup and shutdown animation, is just a part of the customisation. The most important changes lay in the system software (Signature applications) and enhanced functionality like Orange Plus or Orange World services.

Home screen

What most of the Symbian OS based smartphones lack in their standard configuration is the Today screen functionality or a Home screen providing quick access to the most frequently used functions. Orange-customised P910i is equipped with a Home screen preinstalled in the firmware and integrated with rest of the system applications. It is the main screen of the Flip open (or Flip removed) mode and it shows up everytime you open the flip. You can also quickly invoke it anytime by tapping the Home icon on the upper system bar.

The Home screen shows network information and current time and provides immediate access to the most important functions, including exclusive Orange services. Using jog dial or stylus, you can launch contacts, Phone application, open Call log and check missed calls, switch to the Messaging application or check if you have any new SMS, email or MMS messages, access your Calendar and multimedia applications (camera, pictures, music and video player, wallpaper settings), launch the Internet browser and, finally, switch to the UIQ's default Applications launcher. Home screen uses the same wallpaper as the Applications laucher.

I have mixed feelings about this feature. On one hand, it is certainly a nice extra and you get it for free. It does provide quick access to some frequently used applications and functions of the device as well as to all the exclusive Orange services and it may be of great help to people who only use their smartphone to do some basic things and are not familiar with all the menus and applications of the phone. On the other hand, advanced users may find it annoying that you not only can't disable it but even the Home icon on the AppPicker bar is locked. Those who need more advanced, commercial Home/Today solutions like e.g. Tracker or Handy Day may be in trouble because of conflicts between both programs. So, the final opinion is: nice and useful feature but users should be allowed to switch it on or off. Or maybe Orange should simply license one of the leading 3rd party applications, customize it and use it instead of the current Home screen? Sounds like a very reasonable idea.

Internet services - The Orange World

Just launch the browser and you are in the Orange World. The default home page of the P910's WWW browser provides you with quick access to all services available through the Orange World portal. With one of the best mobile browsers and large, stylus operated screen, using web based operator services on the P910 is a real joy and fun. Available services include Downloads (ringtones, games, pictures, video clips, etc.), Orange Music Player (download the latest tracks to your mobile phone), Orange FirePlayer (create own ringtones using your favourite songs), Find My Nearest... (a set of location based services), Travel info (timetables), latest news (text and multimedia) and much more. The Your page link and function lets you organize access to your favourite Orange World services as a web page with customizable links. Bottom line: useful and interesting services that add value to your smartphone and are a good start for new users. Along with the pre-defined Internet access points, messaging service centres, voice mail numbers, etc. they make the phone ready to use straight out of the box.

SIM services

Orange Plus is a set of SIM card based exclusive Orange services. It is divided into three groups: Call Orange (quick access to customer service, answer phone, traffic news, breaking news, etc.), SMS-based Information service (Sport, Lifestyle, Finance) and Group text (send group text messages to your colleagues).

Orange applications

The list of preinstalled applications of an Orange customised P910i contains all programs known from non-branded P910's - see our Sony Ericsson P910i review - including QuickWord, QuickSheet, QuickPoint and PDF+ plus several exclusive Orange tools.

Downloads is meant as a quick access to new and updated software and ringtones, background pictures, etc. However, I am not sure if it is of any real use in case of the P900 or P910 since I checked several times and nothing was available for download.

With Orange Back Up you can make a backup of your sensitive personal or business data (such as Contacts, Calendar, Documents, Images, etc.) over the GSM network in your account created on Orange server and restore it when required, anytime and anywhere. Moreover, you can activate automatic backup at scheduled time and/or intervals. Very useful!

Orange EmailWiz assists you in setting up your email accounts and it really makes it much simplier than using the standard Control panel.

Orange ContactWiz will help you if you need to transfer your contacts from a previously owned mobile phone. Very nice, too.

Help provides an easy to navigate introduction to the applications available Orange Signature phones, giving customers a simple way to learn about and try available functions.

Bottom line

Orange is known from their customizations and their Signature program. Phones offered in Orange networks have to meet more than 100 specifications to achieve Orange Signature standard which surely is a good exam and ensures stability and quality. The first Signature phone launched across Europe in October 2002 was the Microsoft Smartphone OS based Orange SPV manufactured by HTC. Symbian phones in Signature range so far have been the Sony Ericsson P900 and now the P910i as well as the Nokia 6600 and soon the 6630.

What you get is something more than just a plain P910 smartphone. Orange services and applications, especially Back Up, Downloads (if it works), EmailWiz and ContactWiz as well as full access to all Orange World online services provide great user experience and add value to the smartphone. The only questionable thing is the Home screen which should be removable or at least more configurable.

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