Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Building the Perfect Smartphone

By Dave Parrack
Smartphones are improving all the time. The current models make the early attempts look ancient, despite it being less than a decade since the original iPhone was introduced to an awestruck world. However, the perfect smartphone doesn’t yet exist. Which is a problem we’re seeking to remedy.

Smarter Smartphone Features

As much as you may love your current smartphone, there are bound to be things about it with which you’re unsatisfied. If not, then you’re either easily pleased or lying through your teeth to make yourself feel better about having paid a small fortune for your pocket-dwelling gadget of choice.
Either way, you, like everybody else reading this, will have pondered how the smartphone of the future may look. We recently asked our readers exactly what they would include on their perfect smartphone. There were some clear trends present in the discussion, which we have broken down for you below…

Unbreakable Hardware

The perfect smartphone would have unbreakable hardware, or, at the very least, components that are a lot more able to stand up to the abuse meted out by the average user. This goes for the case, which should be both rugged and strong, and the screen, which should remain scratch-free no matter what you use as a stylus.
The other option would be to use bendable, flexible materials which would keep the smartphone safe no matter what height it’s dropped from. Apple has recently patented such a design, so we may well see a bendable iPhone in the not-too-distant future. And where Apple leads, others will follow. Specifically, Samsung and Huawei.

Customization Options

The perfect smartphone would have more customization options than you could ever fully explore. This is unlikely to happen on the iPhone, as Apple likes to control the user experience as much as possible, but there is definitely scope for more customization on open source operating systems.
Selling smartphones with unlocked bootloaders would allow more experienced users to extensively change the user experience with custom ROMs and the like. On a smaller scale, the ability to delete default apps and upgrade certain parts without buying a whole new phone would be essential. Which is a gap in the market Google is hoping to fill with Project Ara.

Common Sensors

The perfect smartphone would feature more sensors than the current generation of devices. We all know smartphones have already replaced the need to carry several other gadgets, but there are still more to be explored.
The most obvious sensor to add would be a thermometer or barometer, either of which would be more useful than even the best weather apps. Other possibilities include a breathalyzer, a carbon monoxide detector, and even a perfunctory smoke alarm.

Camera Capabilities

The perfect smartphone would feature a camera that’s at least on a par with an expensive point-and-shoot. Some would argue that this is already the case, but that’s only for the select few who have made the sensible decision to buy a Windows Phone device boasting a PureView sensor.
The point is that while most people are more than happy to use their smartphone to take random snapshots when the need arises, many would still want a dedicated camera for big events. If the quality of smartphone cameras increased by a big margin we could all finally ditch our cameras.

Power Hungry

The perfect smartphone would feature a battery which can last for several days without needing to be charged. This was by far the most requested feature amongst our readers, suggesting people are getting sick and tired of rushing home to charge their phone after much less than a full day of medium use.
This is a rather tricky problem to overcome, as increasing the life of a battery using the current technology means upping the capacity, which in turn means upping the bulkiness. While everybody would appreciate a longer battery life, we suspect few would be happy to accept a larger, heavier device as a result.

Continue The Conversation

If we’re honest we don’t expect any of the big smartphone manufacturers to read this and start working our ideas into their designs for the next generation of mobile devices. However, at least we know what features the MakeUseOf readership would like to see on the iPhone, Android, Windows, or BlackBerry device they’re planning to buy in the years to come.
Please continue the conversation in the comments section below, as, although a good number of our readers took part in the original discussion, there is always room for more opinions and more suggestions. Whether you agree with what has been said so far or not, be sure to get in touch and let us know what components or features you would include on your perfect smartphone.

A Debt Of Gratitude

In order to build the perfect smartphone, at least in the confines of our own heads, we received help from the MakeUseOf community. As always, our readers proved to be an invaluable part of the site you’re reading right now.
The readers we need to thank took the time to answer the question, What Would You Include In The Perfect Smartphone?, and their responses helped us compile this article. Noteworthy comments include those from KT, John, dragonmouth, and likefunbutnot.
Image Credits: Derek MindlernjaminjamiKarlis DambransGareth SaundersKarlis Dambrans, and Takashi Hososhima. All via Flickr Source:

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