M900 and F900 hands-on makes Acer Shell UI sound very good


17, 2009


We have seen videos taken at Mobile World Congress of the Acer Shell UI on their flag-ship devices, and truth be told, at the time it looked rather silly.

PCWorld however had a hands-on with both devices, and their experience was rather positive.

Acer Shell simplifies navigation by making the home screen a room with a desk and window inside, and each of the objects in the room, a total of nine, will take you directly to content when tapped.

A calendar hanging on the wall, for example, displays the date and time, and will take you to your appointment book. A rolodex icon will convey you to contacts. One nifty aspect of the software is that the picture of the last contact you called will be displayed on the rolodex icon on your home screen. A picture frame icon in the room will take you to the camera and your pictures, and it too will display the last picture you viewed.

A window in the back of the home screen room shows the day’s weather. The sun was shining in the little window on the day I tested the handset. Nice.

Tap the window and you’re transported to a view of the earth, which rotates when you tap on icons of five different places you’ve pre-set for weather information. The same globe is used for time. You can pre-set five different cities and the phone will keep track of the time. The globe on the screen rotates to the location of the city you’ve tapped, too.

There are other icons.

An icon of a mobile phone on the desk goes to the phone function of the handset, and missed calls will be shown as a number on its face. Similarly, a letter icon is for e-mail and a number on the face of the letter lets you know how many e-mails are waiting for you to read. A message on the desk is for SMSs.

The color of the home screen is mostly shades of blue, from very light to very dark. Other colors pop in when photos are in the picture frame or on the rolodex, or a CD cover is on the music player.

I had a lot of fun playing with the UI and the touchscreen worked fast. For people who already use and like the Windows Mobile 6.1 UI, the phone can be switched to that instead, or a quick menu that resembles the iPhone’s home screen.

The reporter further mentions that the Acer M900’s keyboard is very good, with a good positive action, with few typing errors.  Also the on screen keyboard was good, but not as good as good as HTC’s. The fingerprint reader was also noted to work well.

Read more at PCWorld for his full impressions of these two devices.

Below is a video we showed earlier of the UI in action.

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