UIQ (formerly known as User Interface Quartz) was a software platform based upon Symbian OS, created by UIQ Technology AB. It is a graphical user interface layer that provides additional components to the core operating system, to enable the development of feature-rich mobile phones that are open to expanded capabilities through third-party applications.
UIQ was the result of 'Quartz', a user interface for pen PDAs that was one of the three provisional interfaces that were designed by Symbian Ltd. The first three Quartz phones never made it to market, including Psion's "Odin" in a joint venture with Motorola, which was cancelled in January 2001, causing Psion's shares to deteriorate. Engineers thereafter created a lighter version of the software which was presented in 2002, and first shipped that year with Sony Ericsson P800.
Sony Ericsson was the main OEM using the UIQ platform in its products. Motorola also developed some products using UIQ, but abandoned the platform in 2003 in favour of Linux, along with its stake in Symbian Ltd. In 2007, Motorola returned to UIQ with the launch of Motorola RIZR Z8. Nokia, which was using the competing Series 60 (later S60) platform, created one UIQ device called Nokia 6708, which is a rebadged BenQ P31, and was only released in the Asia-Pacific region.
After the creation of the Symbian Foundation and its favouring of S60 as their user interface of choice, UIQ's future was uncertain, as it could no longer develop the software for the Symbian operating system. Many Motorola UIQ devices planned for 2009 were cancelled, including Motorola Razr3, codenamed "Ruby".
UIQ Technology filed for bankruptcy in January 2009, which effectively ended the UIQ platform. Sony Ericsson moved on to Windows Mobile and the open source Symbian from the Symbian Foundation, whilst Motorola adopted Google's Android software.
UIQ 3.3 was the last version of the platform, based upon Symbian OS v9.3. Developers that developed on the UIQ 3.x platform had a much better story than with previous releases, since all UIQ 3.x phones were served by a single, core SDK.
UIQ phones employ touch screens with a resolution of 208×320 pixels (UIQ 1.x & 2.x) and 240×320 (UIQ 3.x). Depending on the phone, the color depth is 12-bit (4096 colors), 16-bit (65536 colors), 18-bit (262144 colors), and 24-bit (16,777,216 colors) on some newer phones.
For developers, the significant items are:
The following is a list of smartphones that have been announced/confirmed as running the newer UIQ 3.x platform.
PDA-style design (similar to a handheld computer)
Hybrid PDA/Phone design (Candy-bar phone with Touchscreen Display)