Battle of the smartphone user interfaces

We take a look at the different skins and user interfaces available on smartphones today to see which is best for businesses.

It seems not all manufacturers using Google Android and Windows Mobile operating systems to power their devices are satisfied with the look and functionality of the platforms in their native state.

Although we may think they're perfectly fine as developers intended, the shells and skins companies such as HTC, Sony Ericsson and Acer are using to disguise the operating systems can sometimes make them easier to use, especially when your finger comes into play.

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So which of these skins make your smartphone easier to use as a business device and ensures communication runs as smoothly as it possibly can?

HTC

TouchFLO 3D is an interface reserved for HTC's high-end devices. Although still not fully suitable for finger-only operation, the icons are larger and easier to use than on devices that use TouchFLO.

It does not completely conceal the original Windows Mobile interface, forcing you to use the Windows email app, but does add extra communication functionality including the People screen, where you can add your most used contacts and scroll through these by swiping up and down, as if you're using a Roladex.

Information is displayed about each of these contacts, including contact details, email and text conversations, call history and limited social networking and events information.

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It also adds shortcuts to other useful applications including stocks, internet where you can bookmark your favourite websites, weather, settings - previously accessed through the Windows Start menu - and up to 18 shortcuts to programs, chosen by the user.

HTC UI

It has now been rolled out on Windows 6.5 devices, starting with the top-range HTC HD2 that features a capacitive screen, making it easier than ever to use your finger.

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Sense is a fully customisable interface based on TouchFLO 3D. The main screen, or homescreen by default includes the weather/time widget that displays the time and current weather conditions.

Below that is the calendar, and below the calendar shortcut, there are three spaces where you can add your own Quick Links, including shortcuts to certain applications or even contacts. Scroll down and there's space for more Quick Links.

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