Have we been premature in lauding the iPhone, Android and webOS for their nifty user experiences? According to the team behind the First ELSE cellphone, we should've waited for them to come along and show off their initial device; it uses a "splaying" one-thumb navigation system that promises to bypass digging through menus. Pocket-lint were around to grab some live shots of the UI in action.
From the look of things, you shift between functionality on the handset by panning up and down a semi-circular menu and then select by pushing across. There are also various sensors which change the button actions; face-down on the desk, for instance, the First ELSE remaps the camera button into a voice-recorder trigger. There's also a proximity sensor which shuts off the touchscreen when you're holding the phone near your face.
According to the company's site, the phone will also record voice calls and voicemail messages and store them along with records of when the call was made; there are also contextual reminders which seem to flag up alerts whenever you're near a preset geographic position, for instance a shopping list while you're near a supermarket.
Hardware details are scant, but 3G, WiFi, GPS and a 5-megapixel camera (with 30fps video recording) are all confirmed, together with an 854 x 480 touchscreen display. The First ELSE will apparently make it to shelves in Q2 2010, though the company is being coy on which carriers might be offering the device. Target markets are the USA, Western Europe and Russia; no word on pricing.