World in motion

[intro]Nokia's 5500 sports phone could double as a portable Nintendo Wii – because it has 2007's must-have feature: motion sensitivity[/intro]

I've just managed to get my hands on Nokia's 5500 sports phone. Now, I'm more of a smartphone man, so I'm not usually interested in mid-range handsets. But the 5500 has a a neat tricks beneath its rubberised exterior: motion sensitivity.

That means that the phone can double as a pedometer, and you use 'tap' controls to pause or fast forward your music (these involve whacking the phone rather hard on various parts of its rugged enclosure - a rather pleasing way of venting frustration).

You can also use the motion sensitivity to control the built in Groove Lab game. This Marble Madness-style game puts you in control of a rolling ball - tip the phone up, and it runs in the direction you're tipping it. Just like playing Super Mokey Ball on the Nintendo Wii

As with the Wii, it's hard to know whether the 5500's features are anything more than gimmicks (especially when you like gimmicks as much as I do). But I've a feeling that motion sensitivity is going to take off because it is - in some applications - so intuitive.

I remember seeing a motion sensitive phone application, back in 2003, that I thought was brilliant. It was from a company called MyOrigo, and it was a web browser that got round the limitations of a small phone screen by allowing you to navigate a page by moving the phone. It was a bit like holding a mirror in front of your PC's web browser and looking at the reflection - as you move it, you see different parts of the page. Except that, in the case of MyOrigo, the text wasn't written backwards.

It was incredibly intuitive product that never made it to market. Perhaps its time has come.