main index FIRST OF ALL, did you read all of my P900 notes?


Below, my comments about the comparison P900-P910... to understand if I should upgrade to the P910i.

The below list is currently based on rumors and news found around the net. I will update this page as soon as I will find more exact information about the P910i. I won't support P910i because I won't upgrade to it.

  1. The P910 has 64Mb internal disk drive (instead of 16Mb) and 32Mb core memory (instead of 16Mb):
    this is surely the best thing: 60Mb free disk space, and 21Mb core memory free instead of 7-8Mb... New softwares will take advan... oops! in practice, because of portability between P800-P900-P910, only the P910-specific softwares will take advantage of core memory. Maybe they want someone to port some big windowed-style memory-hungry programs from the desktop PC to the P910.
    My rating: 10 out of 10.

  2. The P910 has a "262k" color screen:
    translating from commercial slang to actual technical characteristics this means 262144 colors, that is 18 bits per pixel, that is 6 bits per color component - an on-screen pixel needs three bytes, that is 24 bits, but only 18 bits are used (6 bits red, 6 bits green, 6 bits blue). This means that the color resolution is almost unchanged (the P900 has 5 bits red, 6 bits green, 5 bits blue); you won't notice the color boost that you saw from P800 to P900 (P800 had 4 bits red, 4 bits green, 4 bits blue).
    Anyways, since the screen memory map has changed from 66560 words to 66560 triplets (or -fear!- double-words), the screen handling will be actually slower. Maybe you won't see big differences in drawing parts of the screen, but surely you will notice a difference when fast-switching between big windows, or while fiddling with full-screen images.
    I hope that SonyEricsson guys used the common "18 bits in 24-bit scheme" (using 6 of 8, then 6 of 8 and finally 6 of 8 bits of the three bytes of the pixel value: this is compatible with a 16-million colors mode because it just ignores the two least significant bits of every color component) instead of the "18 packed bits scheme" (2 of 8, 8 of 8 and 8 of 8 bits) because the latter would require shift/and/or operations to "settle" color data (complex like "settling" 5/6/5 bits in two bytes, but in need of write three bytes per pixel!), thus becoming much slower to use!
    An important bio-human consideration: to the human eye, 262k colors and 16.77-million colors are the same thing (the human eye can catch up to 250,000 to 300,000 different colors) and - by personal experience - it's very hard to see the difference between the "64k" colors of the P900 and a "262k" or "16M" colors. Thus this screen enhancement is only a commercial slogan which could affect overall graphics performance! This is the reason of my low rating (if the screen memory map is "18 packed bits" then the rating has to be lowered to "1 out of 10"!!!).
    My rating: 4 out of 10.

  3. It supports the MemoryStick Duo PRO cards:
    this is a very great thing because one will be able to store up to one gigabyte of data with faster access than the classic Duo cards.
    I read that "faster" does not mean "stunning"; someone complained about the dramatic slowdown when using an 1Gb card with 150-200 MP3 files (opening the MP3 player will require entire minutes, and sometimes will even hang!)
    I think that SonyEricsson guys deliberately chose to have the P900 unable to use Duo PRO, because the market is still flooded with old 64 and 128Mb Duo cards (and maybe even lots of 32Mb and 16Mb cards from the old P800 times...). Supporting a Duo PRO on a P900 would require only a firmware update, but since they announced the P910, I think that the P900 update won't be released. It's good for them to have lots of P900 units already sold, which can use only the old Duo cards. Since P910 customers will surely buy only Duo PRO cards (bigger, faster and cheaper), they have to compel P900 users to buy old Duo cards... sigh!
    My rating: 10 out of 10.

  4. It has a full qwerty micro-keyboard:
    I am very happy with P900 handwriting recognition; I like it very much, and I get quite high speeds when "typing" characters. I must admit that writing an SMS without having to correct even a typo error is not very frequent, but I also must say that I was able to jot down notes even while walking in a hurry.
    This said, let's have a look to the P910 "qwerty" keyboard. Yes, it's a very nice gadget, but I am not able to call it something different than "gadget". In fact, while your thumbs will quickly find the desired key, the P910 flip will suffer in any situation more stress than the P900 one. This will give extra "usage fear" while working with the keys... :-)
    Instead of a back-flip keyboard, I would have added a different gadget: a decent-sized bluetooth-driven keyboard (including joystick and/or mouse...). But this would boost up the final street price and the actual "wearableness" of the phone...
    Anyways, I give it a decent rating: people like me happen to like this kind of gadgets even if they seem highly fragile.
    My rating: 7 out of 10.

  5. It has some of the most famous "missing" functions of the P900...
    Yes, extra folders for messaging, HTML email, etc. Also, it has separate (and -we hope- faster viewers/editors for XLS and DOC files, and a faster viewer for PDF files). This is what I asked in the P900 bugs'n'missing page; I will write something more when I will get to a more detailed description.

  6. It comes with a 32Mb memory stick, the VGA-resolution photo/video camera, QuickShare function (oops: a "QuickShare" icon was also on the P900 manual!), extra (thirdparty) software, etc:
    this simply means that SonyEricsson has lots of 32Mb sticks on stock... At least 64 or 128Mb would have made the P910 very attractive, but who knows what's in the head of commercial people...!
    There are a number of other phones around with megapixel-resolution photo/video camera. A VGA-resolution camera (which extremely suffers low-light environmental conditions) is only good at sending small images (MMS messaging, for example); but a higher resolution (and a simple imaging software with only cut, resize and enhance contrast functions) would add very big value...
    Yes, the QuickShare maybe a nice thing, but only for people who already have some other QuickShare hardware! Also, it's sad (and practically of little use) to "quickshare" the VGA-resolution light-suffering shots of the P910... it would have much more sense if the camera resolution was at least "megapixel". Anyways, it's not that uncomfortable to transfer images from P900 to the desktop PC (cable/irda/bluetooth). Then I think this QuickShare it's an useless feature, just another commercial keyword to add to the P910 depliants...
    Well, it's not that nice when you upgrade something and you find that almost none of your most desired enhancements isn't there!
    My rating: 0 out of 10.

As you noticed from above, I won't upgrade to P910. Also, while I always suggested to P800 people to buy a P900 because of the big leap, I am not willing to suggest to P900 people to buy a P910.

One friend asked me whether to buy a P900 or a P910. I only told him "watch out prices: I rate the P910 enhancements only +100euro worthy" (it's about 120 US$). Surely he will find a major price drop when the P910 will start shipping here in Italy (guess why?).

Some notes about burning in a P900 the P910a software...

There have been lots of rumors about porting "P910 firmware" to the P900; some guys got a P900 running the "P910a" (not "P910i") firmware running, and getting compatibility with memorystick Duo-Pro up to 1Gb.

Yes, the 128Mb limit is due to a software restraint (a missing memory stick Duo Pro software driver). The P900 hardware is actually good for Duo Pro up to 1Gb (and more, when those cards will be released). But the *!$!@#* Sony Ericsson policy was (and is, and will be) to not to release any P900 software driver for Duo Pro cards (I also fear that we now shouldn't expect anymore firmware upgrades).

The sad notes: the "P910a" firmware is not official, and thus there won't be any updates; also, it needs more than 2Mb core memory than the "P900" firmware (thus leaving only 5Mb core memory left); this means more frequent error conditions (out of memory, etc) and possibly some software incompatibilities (EDoom and VRally, for example).

Another note: to burn a different firmware series in a P900, you will need a "Fighter" device (something more complex than the standard USB cradle; it costs a few hundred bucks, including its Windows software).

Anyways, I don't think I will ever want to risk. At least until the warranty time (burning in an unsupported firmware will invalidate the two-year warranty). The only good reason to get that firmware is the upto-1Gb-duopro support; no one will ever notice the difference between "262k colors" and "64k" colors (remember: "64k" means 5 bits blue, 6 green, 5 red; "262k" means 6 bits blue, 6 green, 6 red - that is: the sixth least significant bit was added to the red and blue components...! the P900 has a bright screen at 132dpi resolution: you will barely notice the difference between 16million colors of the forthcoming P990 and 64k colors of the P900!!). This said, if you can live without a thumb-keyboard and you don't need huge memory (256Mb to 1Gb), the only good reason to buy a P910i instead of a P900 is the internal memory (doubled: 32Mb) and "disk C:" space (quadrupled: 64Mb).

While there has been a "big jump" from P800 to P900 (aesthetics, screen colors, size, system stability, etc), there was a very "little jump" from P900 to P910i (they just wanted to say "we need some months to finish working on the P990i").

Final note: it seems that there is actually a sort of "graphics accelerator processor" in the P900 and P910i... Someone told me that the VRally does run very smooth in the P910i, like in the P900; since the screen memory map has changed (16-bit pixels containing 16 bits of information, to 32-bit pixels which contain 18-bit information) I must argue that either VRally is a perfect software (exceedingly optimized, with a design capable to work flawlessly with 16- or 32-bit per pixel graphics), or it uses some undocumented P900/P910i feature that does not suffer from the 50% slowdown of the doubled screen memory size. Given true the latter, I must also argue that except VRally, no other noticeably "accelerated" software game is out.

As I said since the beginnings, if the P900 has a (sort of) "graphics accelerator" inside (even a simple triangle/vertex engine), then it has roughly the power of a PlayStation 1 (remember that the PS1 has an R5900 processor and 4Mb RAM only). I expected great softwares available for the P900 this year (tipically a 128Mb memory stick duo filled with the game data, graphics and music, thus implicitly protected, because you cannot buy 15 cards to "pirate" 15 games, neither you can enjoy 15 "pirated" games on one single card, copying in a game every time you want to play it) but nothing has appeared up to now...

P900 near a 30cm slice of bread and Nutella

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