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Using the Sony Ericsson P800 Smartphone

by Wei-Meng Lee
04/17/2003

Smartphones are getting more popular these days, with many leading mobile handset manufacturers such as Nokia and Ericsson launching new models. The Sony Ericsson P800 Smartphone is one that has caught my eye. So I've put it through its paces and have much to report.

The Sony Ericsson P800 is a tri-band smartphone (which means you can use it in Asia as well as in Europe and the US) packed with features. At its core is the Symbian OS version 7.0. The P800 contains two processing units running at 156 MHz, with one dedicated to processing applications. The P800 is the successor to the Ericsson R380, which was an earlier model with a large screen designed for browsing WAP sites. The design of the P800 is similar to that of the R380, spotting the familiar flip cover containing the numeric keypad. But one notable enhancement to the P800 is the handwriting recognition capability, much like a PDA. As some reviewers aptly call it, the P800 is a rich man's mobile phone, but a poor man's PDA.

Like most smartphones, the P800 contains a built-in camera capable of capturing up to 640 by 480 pixels with a color depth of 24 bits (16 million colors). The screen of the phone supports 4096 colors, with a maximum resolution of 208 by 320 pixels (when the flip is open).

In terms of storage, the P800 comes with 32 MB internal flash memory (up to 12 MB available for user). It also comes with a 16 MB Memory Stick Duo:

Memory Stick Duo Adapter and the Sony Memory Stick Duo 16 M
Figure 1. the Memory Stick Duo Adapter and the Sony Memory Stick Duo 16 MB

The Memory Stick Duo is actually smaller than a conventional Memory stick. Sony Ericsson ships the P800 with the Memory Stick Duo adapter, allowing you to quickly transfer data on the Memory Stick Duo to devices equipped to read Memory Sticks. However, you can't reuse your existing Memory Stick on the P800, since the sizes don't fit.

The P800 with the battery removed
Figure 2. The P800 with the battery removed, revealing the Memory Stick Duo slot (mid-left) and the SIM card slot (bottom right). The built-in camera is at the top.

Here are some of the notable features of the P800:

  • Built-in camera
  • MP3 and Mp4 player
  • PDA functions
  • 3D arcade games
  • SMS/MMS capabilities
  • Handwriting technology
  • Multi-browser support for WAP and Web sites
  • Built-in Bluetooth

The P800 also supports a new mode called the Flight Mode, which allows you to use your phone in an airplane. This is a useful feature when you need to access your schedules (or simply want to play a game) while you are flying. The only problem I foresee is you may still get the occasional suspicious look from fellow travelers when you use the phone on the plane.

Rather than go through all the detailed features of the P800, I want to discuss the ones I found most interesting.

When you open the flip cover, you will be greeted by the colorful user interface:

The user interface of the P800
Figure 3. The user interface of the P800 resembles a PDA

The top row of the menu contains the various functional categories:

Top menu of the P800
Figure 4. Top menu of the P800

To use a particular function, simply tap on the relevant icon.

Using the Built-in Camera

Of interest is the built-in camera. Using the camera is straightforward: press the Cam button located at the right of the P800. To take a snapshot, press the Cam button again. It's that simple

Using the built-in camera to take a snapshot
Figure 5. Using the built-in camera to take a snapshot

I tried to take a snapshot using the built-in camera and send it to my Bluetooth-equipped Mac. But first you need to turn on Bluetooth by clicking on Applications - Control Panel - Connections - Bluetooth. You then proceed to pair up the Mac with the P800.

Enabling Bluetooth and adding Bluetooth devices
Figure 6. Enabling Bluetooth and adding Bluetooth devices

Once the picture is captured, you can view it and send it to your Mac using Bluetooth:

Viewing the photo taken and sending it via Bluetooth
Figure 7. Viewing the photo taken and sending it via Bluetooth

On your Mac, you will be prompted about accepting the incoming item:

The Mac receiving the photo sent by the P800
Figure 8. The Mac receiving the photo sent by the P800

Upon receiving the image, you can preview it on the Mac:

Viewing the photo taken by the P800
Figure 9. Viewing the photo taken by the P800

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