The Sony Ericsson P990i - Fighting Back Against the Microsoft Empire...

By: Matt Sharp

Breaking Windows

We've all been there. You're late for a deadline, you're manically working overtime to get the project finished, your family have all gone to bed and you're the last one up, feverishly trying to finish one last sentence...

And then, Windows decides it's had enough and gives you the blue screen of death! So, you scream, and run round the house for an hour, and still don't get it finished. And your pda's no use because it's based on Windows, too, and it's lost your sync settings and doesn't want to talk to your PC, like some mechanised family feud.

And that was the problem with the top-end Windows-based pda's. Windows isn't a small operating system. In fact, it's colossal. And everything it does needs power. Processing power. Lots and lots of processing power. So, your Windows pda's had to have super-fast processors in them, that ate the battery, and made it power down just when you didn't need it to.

So, what's the answer?

Wouldn't it be nice if there was an operating system available on mobile phones that did everything Windows will do, but was designed to be used only on mobile devices, and is therefore optimised for them. Or, to put it another way, an operating system that is elegantly powerful, instead of the software equivalent of Arnie on steroids.

Well, there is: Symbian. And the Sony Ericsson P990i is powered by the latest version of it, UIQ3.0, a system designed only for handheld devices. Where Windows is big and memory-intensive, it's designed to be slick, and elegant. The upshot is that you get the power of a top-end Windows pda, without the need for a 4 million-giga-megahertz processor. And the pay off there? Your battery life shoots up from 3 days to anywhere up to 20 days.

By now, you're all thinking: "Oh it hasn't got as fast a processor, it can't be as powerful, and it won't have anywhere near the features of my pda".

Well, some of you will be thinking that. And you know who you are...

But the fact is, not only is the device small, efficient, and very cool, but it's packed to the gills with more features than you can shake a stick at. MP3 player, 2 megapixel camera, 3G video calling, WiFi, Bluetooth, Office software... it will do pretty much anything you tell it to, and do it without making the battery fall over and die.

So, there you go, Sony Ericsson have upped the ante and provided a very real, very viable alternative to Windows-based pda's. And by god, is it good.

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