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Old 03-18-2007, 08:43 AM   #1
kacir
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Motofone F3 - the first impression plus rant about text input

Today I have had a chance to hold Motofone - a mobile (cellular) phone featuring e-ink display.

It looks similar to following picture
http://www.eink.com/press/images/ima...ne_072506.html
I say similar, becaust the actual model I have tried had different shape of segments on display. They were a little bit curved.
like here:
http://www.mobileburn.com/gallery.js...ource=MOSTREAD
I have found the above pictures using this thread
http://www.mobileread.com/forums/sho...light=motorola

I was very, very surprised.
Here are the reasons:
1. I live in Slovakia. So I expected to see this technology after it is established in Japan, USA and other, richer, countries
2. I was told that Motofone is THE cheapest mobile phone you can buy here. GASP. Only 40 Euro for a phone over the counter without any contract.
3. Motofone is a phone. Period. Nothing more. You can use it to:
- make a phonecall
- send an SMS
- store a few phone numbers. It doesn't even have a memory, you can only use a very limited memory on the GSM card itself
- That is ALL. No organizer, no color display, no camera, no Java, no games, no loads of stuff most of people no not use anyway.
This is what we have been asking for for years. An equivalent of the basic "landline" phone.
4. It is beautiful. It is only 9mm thick, the display has VERY high contrast. It is simple. Very simple. Simple is bautiful.
5. It is ugly. It doesn't use matrix display like Reader or iLiad. The segments on the display are OK for numbers. But they are also used to display text. And the resulting text is ugly.
6. I is the very first example of e-ink I have ever seen, so I was *bound* to be surprised by the crispnes and the high contrast of the numbers on display.
7. It doesn't invert the entire display to refresh. It just changes segments that have to be changed. No ghosting and the speed of refresh is very high. A fraction of the second.

<rant mode>
DO YOU HEAR ME SONY?
DO YOU HEAR ME IREX?
Sory for shouting.
Please read point seven again.
You could use a little strip of cheap segmented display as an input line for text. It works for motorola. So why couldn't it work for iLiad v. 3.0 or PRS 1000?
Motophone has 10 numeric buttons. Just like Reader. And yet, motofone has no problem with text input for sms messages. So why couldn't Sony Reader have a simple and primitive text input for text search, or filename renaming, or a simple console (shell like ash or editor like ed or whatever applications busybox offers)
</rant mode>

Have a nice day.
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Old 03-18-2007, 11:13 AM   #2
TadW
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Excellent first review, kacir. I am curious - have you done any battery tests already?
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Old 03-18-2007, 11:54 AM   #3
kacir
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TadW
have you done any battery tests already?
No I haven't. It is not my phone. A friend of mine knows I am very keen on e-ink let me to play with his phone for a few minutes.
He has charged the phone couple of days ago when he bought it and it holds for now ;-)

He bought his phone in a little shop selling phones and contracts for various operators. (we have staggering number of TWO operators here in my country and the phones and services are priced accordingly to the "high" competitive pressure ;-) ). He was told that his phone was the last piece from the batch they have received a short time ago and that they have ordered another dozen of phones, seeing how quickly the first units sold.

The phone is a very interesting a blend on cutting edge "razr" thin technology and the retro look of "LCD-ish" segmented display ala early eighties. This thing is almost as thin as iPod nano! and since it is much larger it seems to be impossibly thin. I do not know how powerfull is the battery they have managed to squeeze into this small space.
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Old 03-18-2007, 03:04 PM   #4
NatCh
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kacir
7. It doesn't invert the entire display to refresh. It just changes segments that have to be changed. No ghosting and the speed of refresh is very high. A fraction of the second.
That may be due to it's being a different approach to the display (I don't know that it is different, I'm just wondering if it might be).

If it's set up to only address the segment section as a block instead as individual pixels the way the e-readers we've seen are, then the black flash likely wouldn't be needed to get the same crispness. It would effectively be treating each segment as a separate display area, and therefore effectively changing the entire display area as a unit.

Again, I don't know that this is what's going on, I'm just theorizing based mostly on my experience with the differences between a 7 segment LED display module (where each segment is controlled as a single, discrete unit), and one of those programmable LED matrix signs (where letter 'segments' are made up of multiple individual LEDs controlled as a group).


In any case, thanks for the overview -- it's good to get some real-world feedback on what these phones are like.
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