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One particularly interesting handset on show at Mobile World Congress was the Else phone, a device made by an Israeli design company of the same name.
The handset, which uses Sharp hardware, is based on the Access Linux Platform — itself a descendent of what was once called Palm OS. In common with Sony Ericsson's X10 Mini and Mini Pro Android phones, the Else phone is designed to be used with one hand. Unlike those handsets, though, it uses a completely different user interface from anything else in the market.
The Else's UI is based almost entirely on thumb movements. The user swipes up and down in an arc to access various menu items, then pushes their thumb further in to access submenus or files within a folder.
Else first showed off the handset at a London event a few months ago, but the version it showed at MWC had undergone a lot of tweaking since that first launch. More fine-tuning is on the cards before the handset gets a commercial release, although no operator has picked it up yet.
Not everything on show was a phone — Alcatel-Lucent, for instance, was demonstrating its 4G-connected car concept.
The Toyota Prius was fitted out with a variety of screens and sensors, all of which were hooked up to a mobile-broadband connection using the long-term evolution (LTE) of 3G standard.
This screen showed the panoply of sensor feeds that the driver of Alcatel-Lucent's car would be able to see, in order to keep an eye on the functioning of the vehicle.
The screens inside the vehicle would also be able to use their 4G connection to show high-definition videos, run a web browser or display Google Maps.