What does the Sony Ericsson purchase of UIQ Technology mean to the end user?
Sony Ericsson announced they were purchasing UIQ Technology and will then be in the position to license the user interface built on top of the Symbian OS to others. SE is the main user of the UIQ interface and this move is seen as evidence they are committed to continuing to build devices sporting this powerful operating system.
The latest SE UIQ 3 devices, notably the P990 and M600, run a version of the Symbian operating system that implements a touch screen on a converged PDA/phone device. I tried one of the older SE P910 devices and found it to be a decent device. The RF reception was the best I have ever seen on a mobile device, but the processor and performance lagged a bit compared to other mobile devices I had in my collection at the time. The reviews of these new devices state that there are still some bugs in the OS, but that SE is working on software updates. The number of UIQ devices sold is much lower than S60 devices and they really don't have any devices targeted to the business environment. It will be interesting to see what Sony Ericsson does with the UIQ interface now that they have more control over it. They plan to continue to license it to others like Motorola. Will Sony Ericsson come out with a business-oriented UIQ device similar to the way Nokia launched the E series S60 devices for the enterprise? We'll have to wait and see.