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Saturday, October 11, 2008

Touch UIs for your next phone?

In addition to previous post about the new update to Nokia S60 released in the new Nokia 5800 Xpressmusic, here comes select videos for Samsung Omnia, LG KC910 (Renoir), BlackBerry Storm, SonyEricsson Xperia X1 and Google G1 demoing the UIs of these devices. When it comes to evaluating the user interfaces you have to consider different aspects such as; formfactor, input and output methods, touch and feel, visual impression and convenience.

Formfactor: All the models have pretty much the same typical "candy bar" shape, some are wider and two (G1 and X1) are sliders with "real" keyboards. If a device is too wide, not good for one-handed operation and the BlackBerry Storm may be in that category as are the G1 and X1 when you use the keyboard. I prefer the soft keyboards (even if they take away screenspace), you get a lighter phone, more flexibility (vertical and horizontal keyboards).

I/O: Easy to use with one hand I think is again to prefer vs. two-handed friendly slider models. Some interesting differences, "roller" mouse on G1, "optical" mouse on Omnia vs. touch and touch and hold only. Easy to find connectors, micro SD style memory slots and rich Bluetooth profile support including audio/video controls also important.

Touch and Feel: Touch with a tactile feedback function is usually better than "sound" feedback, I prefer features you can operate without somebody noticing, silent operating mode. Interesting to see, screen "vibrate" key clicks on Nokia 5800 vs. screen "mechanical" key click feedback on BlackBerry Storm. On the overall feel feedback is also the need to easily find and operate the controls on the device.

Visual impression: Since you deal with small devices, screen resolution, color richness and possibility to see things in daylight are all important. Higher resolution and more colors preferred.

For global travelers, BlackBerry Storm stands out as the only phone that will work in USA on a CDMA (Verizon Wireless) whereas all the others will work on AT&T with the exception of Google G1 which will also work on T-Mobile in USA (T-Mobile is using 1700 Mhz which only G1 supports so far).

Samsung demo:

LG 910 demo:

BlackBerry Storm demo:

SonyEricsson Xperia X1 demo:

Google G1 demo: