Emblaze Mobile is bringing a new device to market that it claims will go beyond smartphones, and revolutionise the mobile experience.
Officially unveiled at an event in London today and set to be available in the first quarter of 2010, the First Else handset is powered by Else Intuition, a new operating system jointly developed by Access Software and Emblaze that builds on the Access Linux Platform.
However, the company has yet to specify a price, or offer details of any deals with network operators to carry the high-end handset.
The device and the new platform are "all about delivering the right user experience", according to Emblaze chief executive Amir Kupervas.
Kupervas explained that smartphones have evolved beyond just making voice calls into a lifestyle device full of content and running many applications, but that rival handsets, including the iPhone and BlackBerry, generally deliver a poor experience.
"Phones are first and foremost phones. Everything else is secondary, so other devices are a jack-of-all-trades and master of none. They keep getting smarter, but that just makes them harder to use," he said.
In contrast, the First Else is designed to be application-centric rather than phone-centric.
"We are not a phone. When you're using an application, the entire device becomes that application, so it delivers the same experience as best-of-breed dedicated devices. If you play music, you get the experience comparable to an iPod. For email you get the experience of a BlackBerry, and for navigation the experience of TomTom," he said.
The user interface of the First Else is designed around single-handed operation, using a capacitive touch screen so that users can select actions and information using their thumb alone.
Kupervas explained that the applications share a single database, so that each one has access to key information. When a call comes in, the handset can display information about the caller, including the last email they sent you, for example.
"It's information where needed. The device is working for you. When in a call I can bring up my meetings, and add a new one if necessary," he said.
Other features of the First Else include noise cancellation to cut out any background din, a conference call generator to make it easy to set up multi-party calls, and an audio call log that enables users to play back recent voice calls.
The handset also features a silent communication mode. If the user is in a meeting, for example, callers hear a menu telling them the user is busy, but giving them the option to press a key and send an alert if the call is urgent.
A photo album application, meanwhile, features geo-tagging so that images can be grouped together based on where they were taken.
"The First Else solves problems that users have. It will make them addicted to it," said Kupervas.
In terms of hardware, the First Else is based on a TI OMAP 3430 processor with a built-in GPU for graphics acceleration (the same as used in the Palm Pre smartphone) with up to 32GB Flash memory, a 5-megapixel camera, and a high-definition 854 x 480 resolution 3.5in screen suitable for showing movies, according to Emblaze.
The device functions as a quad-band phone with HSDPA and 802.11b/g Wi-Fi for data communications, plus Bluetooth and Assisted GPS.
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