Published: Thursday 2004-02-26.
Since about a year I own a Sony Ericsson P800. I normally use it as a palm-top computer, but I do make a phone call or two with it once in a while. I have read several reviews of it, and its successor P800, and all of them seem to agree very much that the user interface is awfully messy, something I never really understood.
I liked UIQ from the first instance I saw it several years ago in a meeting with Psion about a, later withdrawn, mobile device, and I think it is very logically designed, especially since they have put a lot of effort in making sure all programs have a homogeneous interface, with standardised menus and functionality.
But then I read the review of the P800 in the latest issue of Datormagazin, where the reviewer once again is annoyed with the messy interface. It wasn’t until I had read the article for a while that the penny dropped, he wrote that it was the system that is shown with the flip closed that was the messy one. I can agree with that, but it doesn’t become me, because very early on I removed the flip and 99% of the time I use it in the flip open mode. Without the flip you end up in the UIQ mode by default, and I find the machine a lot nicer without the flip. Even with a removed flip it is possible to access the messy system, by activating the “virtual flip”.
It’s not very often that I use this functionality, it’s almost only when I listen to music in Oggplay, since it’s not possible to lock the keys (touch screen) in the flip open mode, so I close the “flip” and activate the key lock so nothing can disturb it then.
The fact that there isn’t any real key lock in the flip open mode isn’t too bad, since there are several pieces of software available for locking the screen, free software, freeware and payware. Personally, I use Handy Day, which also provides a nice overview function directly when I turn on the device.