Get ready to meet the motion-sensitive mobile

A new smartphone from Finland lets users scroll and zoom simply by using their hands

A mobile phone that can be controlled through a user's hand movements has been created by MyOrigo, a company based in Finland.

MyDevice, which has just been demonstrated in London, is scheduled to hit the shops before Christmas 2003. Its makers claim it is a major step forward in smartphone development.

MyDevice measures 124mm by 59mm by 22.5mm, and most of its front face is taken up by a touch-sensitive colour screen. It uses the Intent operating system developed by Tao Group, a UK software developer, and can run popular applications such as a Web browser, an email client and an MP3 player -- as well as working as a camera phone.

What sets the device apart, according to MyDevice and Tao, is its user interface: several features have been added in an attempt to improve usability and functionality. A motion control means that the screen automatically adjusts to match the orientation at which a user is holding their MyDevice. To switch from a portrait view to a landscape view, the user just rotates the handset by 90 degrees.

Motion control can also be used to scroll around and zoom in and out of an application. With the mirror button pushed down, the user can see different parts of the document or Web page by tilting the handset. MyOrigo compares this technique to that of moving a mirror around to see different areas of your face. A zoom button also works on the same principle.

MyDevice uses haptic feedback as a way of improving the experience of using the touchscreen. This means that the screen vibrates slightly every time the user presses it, which MyOrigo says makes it easier to type.

Several mobile operators are said to be interested in launching MyDevice, including at least one UK-based network operator.

Johan Granholm, vice president of sales and marketing at MyOrigo, told ZDNet UK that pricing would depend on how much an operator was prepared to subsidise the cost, but that he felt a price point of between £150 and £200 with a contract was quite possible.

Granholm also explained that operators will be able to customise the device -- packing it with applications to suit a high-end business user, or converting it into a mobile gaming device, for example.

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