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Motorola aims new Linux phone UI at replacement market

Jan 3, 2006 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive
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The user interface (UI) on Motorola's latest Linux-based mobile phone includes concessions to mainstream interface design aimed at increasing appeal in the replacement market, writes MobileBurn editor Michael Oryl in a brief review of the UI found on a prototype of Motorola's forthcoming high-end,… WiFi-enabled A910.

(Click for larger view of Motorola A910)

The A910 is Motorola's new high-end, WiFi-enabled phone, announced in July along with two other Linux-based designs. Like older Motorola phones, the A910 includes a user interface designed in-house by Motorola, on top of Trolltech's Qt/Embedded development framework and graphics library.

According to Oryl, Motorola's A910 eschews the hardware “menu” button found in earlier interfaces, in favor of a softkey “menu” button like most phones have. Oryl sees this and other interface capitulations as a ploy to increase appeal in the replacement market, by making Motorola's Linux-based phones feel more familiar to users accustomed to other brands.

Orly has been critical of the user interfaces found on earlier Motorola Linux-based mobile phones.

The new A910 UI also features layered sub-menus, similar to those found on PCs, rather than the full-screen submenus used in early Motorola UI menu hierarchies. Additional improvements include better scrolling of long menu options, and a more wizard-like UI paradigm for task-based menu items, such as synchronization.

Despite improvements, the A910's UI still retains a few quirks, Orly writes, such as the use of check-boxes rather than radio-buttons for settings lists where only one item at a time can be selected. Slow performance could pose another problem, although Orly concedes that performance cannot be properly evaluated on a prototype.

To find out more, and to see screenshots of the A910 prototype's new UI, read the full story, here.

Thanks to Eugenia Loli-Queru for bringing this story to our attention.

This article was originally published on LinuxDevices and has been donated to the open source community by QuinStreet Inc. Please visit for up-to-date news and articles about Linux and open source.

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