Did an interesting comparison yesterday:
- my SonyEricsson K800i, bought a year ago from O2 via Carphone Warehouse, which has minimal customisation vs. the 'vanilla' device - an O2 menu & link through to its portal
- my friend's SonyErisson K810i bought direct from Orange 3 weeks ago & heavily customised with a new idle-screen menu, different icons etc
The UI on mine is rocketship fast, clicking a button has near-zero latency, and it has crashed once in a year. I like it.
The UI on my friend's is like wading through treacle. Much of the time, the idle-screen menu has 3-sec latency to do anything, and the rest of the phone also much less useable. He hates it and is about to take it back, or may try to have it reflashed to vanilla settings.
I suspect the fault lies with the custom UI, which I think is rendered in Java (some S-E phones have multitasking Java but no smartphone OS). I know that some Orange subsidiaries use SurfKitchen's software on certain 'Orange Signature' devices & it works OK on Symbian devices I've played with, but I'm not sure if that's the culprit here.
Either way - it's a horrible user experience and reflects negatively on both operator and handset vendor. Will it increase his spending on new & wonderful multimedia services or improve loyalty? Yeah right.
Perhaps phones are like cars.... the people who design them best are the original designers, especially non-smart featurephones. I don't add on nasty bits of plastic from Halfords to modify my car, and I don't want nasty bits of software modifying my phone.