Motorola has announced its first 3G phone to be powered by the Symbian operating system. The A920, which will operate over 3's 3G network, is being billed as the world's most advanced video mobile, ushering in a new generation of 3G phones.
Perhaps not surprisingly, point-to-point video is being pushed hardest, the camera used for this purpose handling both video and still images. Motorola has designs on mobile gaming fans too, with J2ME and C++ support, gameplay in both portrait and landscape orientations, and a joypad-like directional controller. A GPS receiver inside the unit delivers location-based services -- an area in which 3 is already active but intends to expand. There is also a built-in MP3 player. Eight megabytes of on-board memory are supplemented by a 32MB SD card housed under the battery, next to the SIM. Motorola quotes battery life as 1 hour of point-to-point video, or 90 minutes' talktime and up to 70 hours on standby. The company is attempting to deflect criticism that this isn't enough by providing two batteries, charging capacity for a spare cell in the docking station and twin charging cables. The Symbian operating system offers features such as handwriting recognition, email support, calendar and contact management. Macintosh users may be nonplussed to hear that there's no synchronisation software for them: we had difficulty pinning Motorola down on when such connectivity might be introduced -- the best we could get from Bob Schukai, head of 3G handsets at Motorola, was a rather non-committal 'we are looking at it going forward'. Bluetooth fans will also be disappointed by its absence. Motorola expects that many applications written for SonyEricsson's P800 -- which has the same 208-by-320-pixel screen resolution -- will also run on the A920, although it accepts that some will have been written specifically for the P800. Motorola launches its own application-signing initiative on 1 September. Motorola expects retailers to sell the A920 at prices similar to those of current 3G phones.