Mobile phones are the latest convergence devices at the moment; if it isn’t Sony Ericsson with its new look camera additions or Nokia with its Wi-Fi and/or MP3 entertainment systems, somewhere, someone is creating yet another mobile phone that purports to offer to make the tea, cut your hair and oh yes- make phone calls.
Because the market is still so new and still so open (and perhaps because of anti-monopoly rules), no single manufacturer controls the operating system standard for mobiles Some use Symbian, others run Linux and some, like the MPx200 runs on Windows. Worrying though the latter might sound the end result is a PocketPC device with all the focus on the phone elements.
The clam-shelled unit, like Sony Ericsson’s Z600, is antenna-free and the Motorola seems as coated in the same shiny solid casing as its aforementioned rival. The front offers the obligatory LCD display offering time, date, signal strength and caller information while the side offers an SD Card slot that supports up to 1Gb cards.
Open it up and the large bright screen offers a plethora of information while the keypad has been designed in a simple to understand layout. New keys that clamshell users will notice are the addition of a back key (again similar to the Z600) and a home key. The home key does what it suggests and will at any point, in any menu get you back to the home page - a great little feature and the home page has to be one of the best laid out interfaces we have seen in a long time.
Across the top are the last selected programs as a “recent documents” selector. Underneath that list sits your network details such as Vodafone or Orange. Then there are your appointments for the day and finally a record of how many emails, SMS and MMS messages you’ve got waiting for you in your relevant inboxes. While it all sounds a bit too much to take in, it gives you everything you need to know in one quick glance and saves rummaging through menu systems and question screens normally associated with getting the same data. One click of a button opens up the program list like the windows start bar and further programs can be accessed from here.
Where the phone falls down however is the lack of extras - no camera and no Bluetooth support will surely disappoint, which is a shame because other than those omissions this is a very solid phone. The OS shocked us. It provided all the great things about a PocketPC but focused on mobile phone use. The ease of synchronisation including the appointments element with a PC using MS ActiveSync and the SD card slot will appeal to the business user, but the lack of Bluetooth for a wireless headset is just too greater element to ignore. Hopefully we’ll see them in a future update.