Chapter 18 – UIQ

Years later I would come to appreciate the power and flexibility of the Symbian mobile operating system. But UIQ, Sony Ericsson’s fork of Symbian, was pretty much a non-starter for me. My one and only UIQ smartphone was the P800; I trialled it for about a week in the summer of 2003.

One of the biggest reasons why I didn’t keep it was the price tag: nine hundred and fifty Canadian dollars was a bit too dear. I think it was my Treo that instilled in me the optimal price point for one of these high-functioning handsets; even today, I’m loathe to pay more than five hundred bucks for one. And Fido offered no subsidies for the P800, as it was very much a niche device.

I might have given the P800 more consideration had it a proper qwerty keypad. Using the number pad for anything other than entering phone numbers was decidedly unpleasant. The touchscreen underneath had built-in handwriting recognition that didn’t work at all for me — I would have much preferred something more familiar, like Palm’s Graffiti alphabet. Instead, I had to make do poking at an on-screen keyboard with the included snap-on stylus. Not fun.

But the biggest problem with Sony Ericsson’s smartphone was that it had no available options for syncing data to my Macintosh computer. Remember that I’ve only ever wanted two things from my mobile phone, and above all else the ability to share a single address book. Apple to this day is still dwarfed by Microsoft Windows in terms of market share, and I wasn’t about to buy a new computer just for a phone (at least not yet). To manually write phone numbers to my SIM card would be an instant regression back to the stone age, and an immediate deal-breaker.

One thing the P800 had going for it was an integrated VGA camera. I decided that my next mobile would  also be a camera phone. And sure enough, it was.