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Apple, meet Sony Ericsson

Apple showed how the iPhone's accelerometer would be used to play games. But Sony Ericsson already offers the technology.

Sony Ericsson W910 Sony Ericsson

When Apple first unveiled the iPhone's nifty accelerometer (the fancy part that rotates the display's orientation when you tip the phone), it was only natural to assume that the feature would eventually be used for gaming. And with today's announcement of the iPhone software developer's kit, we saw just that. Scott Forstall, Apple's vice president of iPhone software, showed a game called Touch Fighter that involved moving the iPhone like a steering wheel. Other games will follow, including titles from Sega and Electronic Arts.

It all looks very cool but as a cell phone guy, I think it's important to note that similar technology is available on existing cell phones from Sony Ericsson. The Sony Ericsson W910 uses a "shake control" motion sensor that allows you to manipulate the phone's functions by moving the phone itself. Like the Sony Ericsson W580, you can change music player tracks by flicking your wrist, but the W910 takes the technology into gaming as well. Instead of using the navigation controls or keypad buttons to play a game, you can tip the handset forward, backward, and to either side. It's a lot like a Wii controller and quite similar to what Apple demonstrated today. At the CTIA show last autumn, I tried playing a game called Marble Madness, which requires you to move a marble through a series of ramps without falling off the edges. And one more thing: the motion sensor also detects which way you're holding it the phone and then automatically changes the screen's layout from portrait to landscape.

I know what you're saying; you're asking me how I can even compare the W910 with the iPhone. You're correct that in many ways the iPhone is superior; its gorgeous display is much more conducive to extended gameplay. But as far as the screen-tipping technology goes, Sony Ericsson is no slouch.