Battle of the smartphone user interfaces

Samsung's Touchwiz interface is more for show than to add any extra functionality to make using the device easier to use. Although the widget interface does make it easier to launch applications, it's nothing revolutionary.

Other manufacturers

Manufacturer skins don't stop there though. Almost every Windows Mobile and Google Android device features an alternative to its native UI.

Sony Ericsson, for example, uses Panels for Windows Mobile devices and Mediascape/Timescape for its Android devices.

Neither particularly changes the functionality of the device, but do organise contacts in a streamed format, uniting Twitter, Facebook, SMS and email feeds. Mediascape organises your media and allows you to quickly view related content online.

Motorola's MOTOBLUR also takes a streamed' approach, although smartphones with the MOTOBLUR interface are more suited to serial social networkers, rather than those who need to quickly access their emails in an organised view.

Third party

If you're not completely happy with the manufacturer's skin for any Windows or Android OS, you can always download a third party UI.

Although they are quite expensive, they can transform your device. Our favourites are SBP Mobile Shell, Winterface for Windows Mobile and dxTop and aHome for Android.

Which is best?

There are a whole host of alternative UIs to the default Windows Mobile and Google Android interfaces, and which one to choose depends on how you want your communication tools organised.

Whether you want to be able to view conversations in a streamed view, want an easier to use calendar, better-organised multimedia, or want to be able to see communication with one person across a number of different mediums, there's something for everyone.

Our personal favourite is HTC's Sense, especially when coupled with a finger-friendly, responsive device such as the HTC HD2.

For more mobile phone news and reviews, visit Know Your Mobile.

Clare Hopping
Freelance writer

Clare is the founder of Blue Cactus Digital, a digital marketing company that helps ethical and sustainability-focused businesses grow their customer base.

Prior to becoming a marketer, Clare was a journalist, working at a range of mobile device-focused outlets including Know Your Mobile before moving into freelance life.

As a freelance writer, she drew on her expertise in mobility to write features and guides for ITPro, as well as regularly writing news stories on a wide range of topics.