Monday, January 21, 2008

Motorola U9

Stephen Fry reports: [edited]

I am reviewing the Motorola U9 phone today. It is a shiny clamshell in the old Motorola PEBL style, not unlike a soap holder in shape and feel. It has all the usual features, being a quad-band GSM phone with EDGE and GPRS for WAP and other data uses, and equipped with a 2 megapixel camera, Bluetooth 2.0 and the familiar flat and sexy Motorola keypad.

This is a perfect handbag phone: entirely cute, entirely serviceable. There's a calendar, a music player, Java games... it is lightweight and has a good battery. Altogether a well designed but unremarkable phone.

What is new is that there is no secondary screen; the whole exterior of the phone is pure glossy violet plastic, giving no hint of display capability. The image appears to be going on somehow inside the very surface of the plastic cover. What's more, if I close the phone while playing a track, a music player now appears - a touch-sensitive music player at that.

Welcome to the world of OLED. You may well have heard that there is a new kind of display technology in the offing, and this is it. Organic Light Emitting Diodes will slowly be replacing Liquid Crystal Displays over the next decade.

OLED, which sandwiches stacks of light-emitting layers of polymers to form ultra-thin displays, has the remarkable potential to be incorporated into fabric and the lightest of materials, famously raising the prospect of roll-up monitors, a new generation of electronic paper, and a world in which displays can be seen everywhere.

OLED, which doesn't need a backlight, has the advantage of being bright enough to be readable in sunlight, while using less power than LCD.

OLED technology faces problems. Typically the displays last a fraction of the lifetime of LED and LCD... but good on Motorola for coming up with a touch-sensitive OLED consumer mobile at this stage of the game.

1 comment:

Coel said...

We won't be getting those in until March I think! It looks pretty nice. Much better than the new Serenata.