Flashback to UIQ and the Sony Ericsson P910!

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GSM Arena loves its retro spots (and we love them too) and this time it's the turn of the P910, the peak of Symbian's UIQ interface on phones, perhaps? Seventeen years on, how does the P910 hold-up? Surprisingly well, if you forget about doing anything meaningful on the Internet. But, obviously, don't expect much from the camera!

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

The P910 was covered here in 2004 by Rafe for its launch and then reviewed. (These were early days for the All About sites, so don't expect many images!)

17 years on, with dramatically better photographic resources, we have GSM Arena. Here's an extract from the article's conclusion:

Besides the dedicated camera key (which is a simple button, no half press, if you were wondering) is a custom button. You can set it to launch an app of your choosing, which is quite handy.

Maybe we do some research on the Internet, we thought. Trying to do that on the phone, we quickly ran into an issue. The Sony Ericsson P910 (and previous models) is a 2G-only phone. And even if you still have 2G service in your area, there is a larger issue - most sites have moved to serving pages over HTTPS for security, but the P910 just couldn't handle the newer protocols. We only managed to connect to a handful of websites and the GPRS connection felt excruciatingly slow, taking up to 30 seconds to load even relatively simple pages.

In its heyday the Sony Ericsson P910 was a Swiss army knife - it had tools for messaging, office work, web browsing, photography and the thing that makes smartphones better than feature phones, the ability to easily add new tools by installing apps.

It is really showing its age in 2021, but to be fair the Internet was a digital Wild West in the early days and digital cameras improved by leaps and bounds early on. This makes the P910 feel older than it is.

QWERTY flap down

The hardware is impressively capable for its age, its software is really of its era. The graphical style with the grayish pseudo 3D elements and tiny icons hit us with a dose of CRT-tinted nostalgia.

It's easy to criticize the UI now, but getting a user interface right is a momentous task. Over three decades later Microsoft is still fiddling with the concept. And it was fascinating to see the glimpses of OSes yet to come - smartphones have gone a long way and the P910 is a milestone along the way.

Good stuff. Although a big fan of the original Sony Ericsson P800 (AAS mini-review, sans images, sadly), I thought the P900 lost a little of the charm, and the P910's tacked on keyboard was just a gimmick. 

Note that all of these devices pre-date The Phones Show and also pre-date YouTube, so there's limited online material to link back to. In 2004, most people got their tech information from paper magazines! In which case, well done to GSM Arena for highlighting these older, early smartphones, for modern day attention.

Source / Credit: GSM Arena