As we mentioned, Sony Ericsson dropped their plans of using the Symbian Foundation upcoming mobile OS on their Satio in favor of the already available Symbian S60 5th edition touch UI. That's a move probably motivated by the timeframe constraints - getting Satio on the market is a top priority for Sony Ericsson.
If you are into big and expensive smartphones, chances are you already know quite much about the Symbian S60 5th edition. Chances are you may have even seen it in action on the highly popular Nokia 5800 XpressMusic.
We are glad to see that Sony Ericsson have customized the interface to match their current product lineup experience more closely.
We are quite fond of the new tabbed homescreen that Satio is pioneering - we haven't seen that on the 5800 XpressMusic or the Omnia HD.
The tabs of the homescreen match different parts of the UI, including favorite apps, gallery, favorite contacts, network services etc.
Starting from left to right the first tab contains your favorite contacts, which are added by pressing the plus key at the bottom.
Next comes the Bookmarks tab. There are several bookmarks conveniently preinstalled but you can change those as you like. Unfortunately, that tab is non-scrollable, meaning you can fit only 8 bookmarks here.
The third tab is on by default and it resembles a regular S60 homescreen. It has a Walkman button, four other shortcuts at the bottom and the current date and time displayed. If you have a track running in background the icon for the music player is replaced by the name of the song along with album art and three music player controls (pause, next and previous).
The shortcuts in the bar at the bottom are to the dial pad, the media center, the messaging and the My phone search application.
The Gallery tab is certainly one of the best looking parts of the interface, allowing you to browse pictures by simply sweeping your finger across the screen (up or down) and the pics are sorted by date. It also enables viewing a photo of your choice in the media center, setting it as wallpaper or sending it away by a single click. Unfortunately at this stage there are no other options except the mentioned ones and you can't zoom or get a small thumbed list as in the main gallery.
The final tab contains shortcuts to a number of programs of your choice. Much like with the Bookmarks tab - there are only 8 slots for application shortcuts here - scrolling is not an option.
Of course if you happen to prefer some of the other homescreen layouts, available to the S60 devices they are here too. However none of them can rival the looks or the functionality of the Sony Ericsson's custom plug-in.
We have prepared a short video for you demonstrating the Sony Ericsson Satio user interface. Just remember to click the HD button once you start watching.