Tech heads have been awaiting the launch of the new First Else Smartphone for months now, and small wonder. If it’s half as good as its makers Else (formerly Emblaze) say it is the iPhone had better watch out.
The biggest selling point is its new linux-based operating system, named Else Intuition. The much vaunted sPlay user interface is designed to be intuitive and allows the user to access all of the phone’s many options with a simple flick of the right thumb.
It is packed with nice touches such as one feature called ‘Silent Interaction’. If you’re busy the phone simply notifies you of the call. You can then ask the caller to decide whether it’s urgent or the kind of thing that can wait until later.
On top of that comes a lorry load of technology: 32 GB of memory, 3G and WiFi, GPS, bluetooth and a five megapixel camera.
In fact to call it a ‘phone’ seems to be something of an under-sell. Else certainly seems to think so. “Imagine a device that is not a phone surrounded by gimmicks you will not use,” says their CEO Amir Kupervas, “where the camera literally replaces your digital camera; you get real-time push email wherever you are on the globe; almost every song and film in the world is one click away; and any one of its multitude of features is reached with no more than one light gesture of your finger.”
Impressive stuff even if the right thumb operation is a little harsh on us lefties. That, though, is a minor complaint. All in all it looks mighty amazing and while it does have a name that only a mother could love, it looks set to become the big hot new gadget of 2010 – or at least it will when Else finally gets it to the market.
As yet there are no firm details about release date or indeed what it will cost. From our point of view that’s never a good sign. But at a rough guess, Else says it will be here in late spring. Until then you can allow yourself a sneak peak at www.firstelse.com.
With the iPhone currently seeming near uncatchable in terms of branding, even companies with established names within mobile technology must resort to good old-fashioned ingenuity to widen their slice of the smartphone market pie. Rather than following the popular trend of churning out a phone that looks a bit like an iPhone but has a bigger screen, that so many manufacturers are peddling, Access and Emblaze Mobile have teamed up to produce the quite progressive Else Intuition.
Built with Access Linux Platform v.3.0, the Else Intuition offers a completely new and innovative user experience. Its major selling point is that it isn’t simply a phone with a set of novelty functions. Its camera, MP3 player and GPS device are of such standard, they claim, that they would challenge the quality of a stand alone device made to perform that sole function. It is, therefore, marketed as a product that is all these devices in one shiny futuristic box. There’s something comfortably Zen about their claim that when you select your required function, say the camera, the Else Intuition actually becomes a camera; it is no longer a phone, but a camera waiting to transform into a phone once more. We all know the frustration of lining up the perfect shot only for your phone to ring. So when you’re using the Else Intuition as a camera or a GPS, the phone won’t automatically interrupt what you’re doing but can be set to leave a message to the caller that you are temporarily engage in more fulfilling artistic pursuits. Of course its primary function is a mobile phone, and so the Else Intuition can be set to interrupt if so desired.
It appears research has shown the designers that busy people rarely have both hands free – a necessity for most smartphone users lacking adequate thumb reach. As a result the main menu can be set on the right and scrolled through in a fan shape. To the relief of left-handed users, the menu can also be set to the centre of the screen.
With a 5 megapixel camera, the Else Intuition could certainly give lower priced cameras a run for their money. However, with a 16 GB flash memory, throwing away your MP3 player may be a little unwise quite yet.