Flashback: Sony Ericsson P910 used an odd taste of contact Symbian and wished to do all of it

Flashback: Sony Ericsson P910 used an odd taste of contact Symbian and wished to do all of it

After gaining a beachhead within the 80s, private computer systems invaded houses en masse within the 90s. Then within the 2000s smartphones have been making an attempt to do the identical to folks’s pockets. By that point folks had gotten used to doc editors, spreadsheets, e-mail and net looking. Characteristic telephones weren’t nice at that – for instance, the well-known Nokia 3310 (which got here out in late 2000) may do none of that.

However quickly a brand new breed of telephones appeared, telephones that have been like mini laptops. We have talked concerning the Nokia Communicator earlier than, in the present day we’ll give attention to the Sony Ericsson P910. The third mannequin within the collection, it arrived in 2004 (after the P900 in 2003 and P800 in 2002) and it may do all the things on the checklist. It ran Symbian with a entrance finish that could be unfamiliar to a few of you – UIQ, aka Person Interface Quartz.

Flashback: Sony Ericsson P910 used an odd flavor of touch Symbian and wanted to do it all

This was lengthy earlier than Nokia’s Sequence 60 made the ill-fated swap to the touch UI, its actual rival on the time have been Pocket PCs working Home windows Cell. The system supported a touchscreen and will multitask, and it made putting in apps a breeze. And there have been fairly a couple of apps, despite the fact that with out an apps retailer discovering them wasn’t that simple.

Okay, sufficient prologue – now that we’ve got such an all-capable system in our palms, let’s attempt to do all the things with it and see the way it goes.

Can we use the P910 to sort up a assessment of itself? It has a {hardware} QWERTY keyboard in spite of everything! This was one of many main upgrades over the P900 – the within of the flip out has a 3 row QWERTY keyboard.

Nonetheless, the telephone measures solely 58 mm large (and the keyboard itself is narrower than that), so the keys are fairly cramped. And there is not any autocomplete and even spellchecking to hurry issues alongside. A much bigger fear is that this can be a bodily keyboard, so it’s a must to press on the keys (not simply contact them) and after some time we began to get nervous that we’ll snap off the skinny, plastic flip-out that holds the keyboard.

Flashback: Sony Ericsson P910 used an odd flavor of touch Symbian and wanted to do it all

Nonetheless, after some follow, we may sort at an honest velocity. Actually quicker than we are able to handle on the keypad, which lacks T9 or related system for quicker typing. An alternate is to make use of the touchscreen and stylus, which do Graffiti-like textual content recognition. Possibly we would have liked extra persistence to study, however in our (admittedly brief) expertise, the popularity is extra miss than hit. You need to be very exact, in any other case making an attempt to put in writing an “o” would possibly end in an “O” or a “u”.

Even so, when you depend on fixed text-based communication – be it SMS or e-mail – the P910 is a succesful communicator (if not fairly pretty much as good as a sure Finnish telephone, which has a a lot bigger keyboard).

There may be an on-screen keypad too, which turns into an on-screen QWERTY in a textual content editor. Nonetheless, the small show and imprecise nature of the resistive touchscreen virtually imply we have been restricted to pecking out particular person letters with the stylus. Two thumb typing is a no go. At the very least you need to use this when you select to take away the flip and use the P910 as a purely touch-driven telephone.


Trying to type a review on the Sony Ericsson P910 - Flashback: Sony Ericsson P910
Trying to type a review on the Sony Ericsson P910 - Flashback: Sony Ericsson P910
Trying to type a review on the Sony Ericsson P910 - Flashback: Sony Ericsson P910

Attempting to sort a assessment on the Sony Ericsson P910

Okay, new plan – that is a complicated smartphone with leading edge Bluetooth connectivity. Properly, leading edge for the early 2000s. We are able to join a Bluetooth keyboard and use that to sort on the roomy 2.9″ show. Oh, the telephone does not acknowledge the keyboard in any respect.

Alright, that is not going to work. Whereas we consider what to attempt subsequent, we’ll play a fast sport of solitaire. Have you ever heard the story of how Solitaire got here bundled with Home windows so that individuals can have a enjoyable solution to follow utilizing the mouse? Early residence computer systems operated with textual content instructions, however wide-spread adoption would solely include the arrival of the graphical person interface (which is hard to make use of with solely a keyboard).

The stylus is the smartphone model of a mouse. It’s quicker and extra exact than utilizing a D-pad to focus on an merchandise. And it means that you can drag stuff, like within the Chess sport, for instance. A touchscreen and stylus make navigating complicated menu and a number of shortcuts simpler.


Solitaire wouldn't really work without a stylus - Flashback: Sony Ericsson P910
Chess would be tricky too - Flashback: Sony Ericsson P910
Chess would be tricky too - Flashback: Sony Ericsson P910
Chess would be tricky too - Flashback: Sony Ericsson P910

Solitaire would not actually work with no stylus • Chess can be difficult too

However the stylus could be very restricted in its mouse duties – it is sort of a single button mouse with no scroll wheel. Because of this scrolling is completed utilizing the scrollbar on the facet or tapping the up/down buttons within the nook.

Flashback: Sony Ericsson P910 used an odd flavor of touch Symbian and wanted to do it all

The Jog Dial, carried over from early Sony telephones, is a greater approach. It’s the lacking scroll wheel and may even be clicked to activate the chosen merchandise. The dial on our unit has gone slightly wonky in spite of everything these years, however it’s nonetheless a really handy solution to function the person interface with out touching the display screen.

Whereas the two.9″ show is sufficiently small that one can simply attain all 4 corners, one-handed operation is not excellent due to how the UI is constructed. Utilizing the Jog Dial and a few keypad shortcuts is the higher choice when you may have just one hand to spare.

Flashback: Sony Ericsson P910 used an odd flavor of touch Symbian and wanted to do it all

Funnily sufficient, the Sony Ericsson P910 suffers from a difficulty that faces the primary foldable telephones – what ought to an app do when the display screen dimension instantly adjustments? On this case since you opened or closed the flip keyboard.

Some apps have separate UIs for each instances, nonetheless most don’t. Because of this whenever you go to launch an app with the flip closed – utilizing the Jog Dial, after all – just some apps can be found. The truth is, the contact performance of the show is disabled utterly when the flip is closed.


Jog Dial menu - Flashback: Sony Ericsson P910
Available apps in closed flip mode - Flashback: Sony Ericsson P910
Music player (with flip opened/closed) - Flashback: Sony Ericsson P910
Music player (with flip opened/closed) - Flashback: Sony Ericsson P910

Jog Dial menu • Obtainable apps in closed flip mode • Music participant (with flip opened/closed)

Observe: the black space is roofed by the flip.

This makes the P910 really feel like two telephones in a single – a basic keypad-driven Symbian smartphone and a touch-driven smartphone that has loads of tough edges.

For one, the Symbian 7.zero OS that’s on the coronary heart of the telephone is not nice at multitasking. You may put 5 shortcuts on the highest row and use them to modify between these 5 apps simply sufficient.

But, for all the remaining it’s a must to undergo the app drawer. By default, it’s a checklist with a small font designed for use with the stylus. You may swap to a mode with 2×3 icon grid, which is much more finger-friendly, however these damned up/down buttons within the nook stay tiny and barely usable when you handle to hit them along with your fingernail.


The list mode is so tiny that you need the stylus - Flashback: Sony Ericsson P910
The grid view is more thumb friendly - Flashback: Sony Ericsson P910
The grid view is more thumb friendly - Flashback: Sony Ericsson P910

The checklist mode is so tiny that you just want the stylus • The grid view is extra thumb pleasant

There are some icons on the underside row that let you toggle some telephone controls with out leaving the at present energetic app. It isn’t fairly a notification space, however it’s a precursor. And there are sort-of fast toggles in right here too.

These controls (just like the shortcuts on the highest row) are once more slightly tiny and hart to hit with a finger. This is not a narrative concerning the iOS, however the clunky Symbian UIQ interface made us respect simply how well-designed iOS was for finger-only operation.


Some basic phone features can be accessed without leaving the app - Flashback: Sony Ericsson P910
Some basic phone features can be accessed without leaving the app - Flashback: Sony Ericsson P910
Some basic phone features can be accessed without leaving the app - Flashback: Sony Ericsson P910

Some fundamental telephone options could be accessed with out leaving the app

Anyway, how about we play some tunes? The P910 has 64MB of inner reminiscence and a 32MB MemoryStick Duo included. That is one of many upgrades over the P900, which had solely 16MB inner storage (and the identical reminiscence card).

The telephone supported MP3 playback, although the annoying proprietary port restricted the number of headphones you need to use. The Jog Dial is available in once more, this time used to vary the quantity. The telephone may also play MP4 movies, which labored properly sufficient on the 4.6:9 show (keep in mind, this was again in 2004, so wide-screen adoption was solely simply beginning).

The 208 x 320 px decision does not make for the sharpest picture, but it surely’s advantageous contemplating the restricted storage accessible (even if you’re keen to spend additional the MemoryStick Duo format topped out at 128MB). Whereas Sony had a big music studio, managing the multimedia on the telephone was left to the person – there was no iTunes various.

Flashback: Sony Ericsson P910 used an odd flavor of touch Symbian and wanted to do it all

The Sony Ericsson P800 got here with a VGA digital camera, that’s 640 x 480 px decision or about one third of a megapixel. This similar digital camera module was used within the P900 and P910. Being practically 20 years previous at this level we did not count on a lot and that’s what we bought.

The digital camera is supposed for use in portrait orientation and there is a devoted button on the facet. Press it as soon as to launch the digital camera app and once more to take a photograph. Or you need to use the on-screen controls.

The digital camera has a number of modes (Auto, Open air, Indoors, and so forth.) plus presets for taking pictures photographs and movies for MMS. Since MMS messages are restricted to only a number of tens of kilobytes, the photographs and movies have to be smaller.


The camera app works with the flip opened and closed - Flashback: Sony Ericsson P910
The camera app works with the flip opened and closed - Flashback: Sony Ericsson P910
The camera app works with the flip opened and closed - Flashback: Sony Ericsson P910

The digital camera app works with the flip opened and closed

One subject we had is that the display screen is slightly dim and its plastic contact layer slightly reflective. That made it arduous to border exterior photographs. Additionally, the viewfinder takes up solely a small a part of the display screen, even when the flip is opened.

Anyway, listed here are the digital camera samples we took, jutst handle your expectations earlier than clicking.





Sony Ericsson P910 camera samples - Flashback: Sony Ericsson P910
Sony Ericsson P910 camera samples - Flashback: Sony Ericsson P910

Sony Ericsson P910 digital camera samples

Moreover the devoted digital camera key (which is an easy button, no half press, when you have been questioning) is a customized button. You may set it to launch an app of your selecting, which is sort of useful.

Possibly we perform a little research on the Web, we thought. Attempting to do this on the telephone, we rapidly bumped into a difficulty. The Sony Ericsson P910 (and former fashions) is a 2G-only telephone. And even when you nonetheless have 2G service in your space, there’s a bigger subject – most websites have moved to serving pages over HTTPS for safety, however the P910 simply could not deal with the newer protocols. We solely managed to hook up with a handful of internet sites and the GPRS connection felt excruciatingly gradual, taking as much as 30 seconds to load even comparatively easy pages.


Browsing over GPRS is slow - Flashback: Sony Ericsson P910
Only some sites work - Flashback: Sony Ericsson P910
Have you heard of this new show? - Flashback: Sony Ericsson P910
Have you heard of this new show? - Flashback: Sony Ericsson P910

Searching over GPRS is gradual • Just some websites work • Have you ever heard of this new present?

In its heyday the Sony Ericsson P910 was a Swiss military knife – it had instruments for messaging, workplace work, net looking, pictures and the factor that makes smartphones higher than function telephones, the flexibility to simply add new instruments by putting in apps.

It’s actually exhibiting its age in 2021, however to be honest the Web was a digital Wild West within the early days and digital cameras improved by leaps and bounds early on. This makes the P910 really feel older than it’s.

And it’s previous, having come out in 2004 it’s nearly sufficiently old to vote now. Alas, it’s much less a younger’un and extra a veteran of a misplaced warfare – all its Symbian compatriots are gone, particularly the UIQ squad.

Flashback: Sony Ericsson P910 used an odd flavor of touch Symbian and wanted to do it all

The {hardware} is impressively succesful for its age, its software program is admittedly of its period. The graphical fashion with the grayish pseudo 3D components and tiny icons hit us with a dose of CRT-tinted nostalgia.

It is simple to criticize the UI now, however getting a person interface proper is a momentous activity. Over three a long time later Microsoft remains to be twiddling with the idea. And it was fascinating to see the glimpses of OSes but to return – smartphones have gone a good distance and the P910 is a milestone alongside the way in which.

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