A hint for Android smartphone makers

Almost every day on my Google Reader’s collection of feeds I read rumors or facts about new Android handsets. Almost always the things have a ridiculous amount of CPU power (for a phone) more RAM memory and higher resolution screens. None of which excites me even a bit.

I used to change my phone every 6-8 months. When the iPhone 3G was released, I was excited to see how nice the interface and potential was with the app store, compared to my Nokia 6630. But it was too limited, too closed and too slow. Then I got the HTC Dream, the first Android phone. Even if it was butt-ugly I loved the openness and features of the phone. But it was also slow. Then, I got a Nexus One phone and not only it was physically beautiful and nice, it was also fast. In the Nexus One, apps open almost instantly and interactions with apps (menus, buttons, screen change) are also damn fast. This was at the start of 2010. Since then, a lot of new smartphones have hit the market but not a single one of them have excited me enough to change my Nexus. So as of date, I’ve keept my Nexus for 18 months, while in the past I would usually have changed two or three times during this period.

The reason is that the new phones doesn’t offer any value for me are mostly:

  • Bigger screens: it is a phone and I really think that the Nexus 3.7’’ is a reasonable limit for a phone screen. 4’’ could make it, but no more.

  • Better screen resolution: which is not much of an improvement on a 3.7’’ screen.

  • More cores, higher CPU cycles, more RAM: my Nexus is pretty fast with current Android versions (thanks Google for not WindowVista-izing the OS), and I don’t feel a need for more RAM memory. Probably people playing 3D games on the phone will appreciate the difference, but I don’t play games on the phone.

  • More megapixels in the camera: more megapixels are not more quality.

  • 4G: which currently doesn’t works here in Europe.

What I would like to see on new phones:

  • Picoprojector: I want to show my friends/coworkers the latest lolcat video or that awesome Call of Duty match I uploaded to youtube on the wall. I want to see films on divx on my hotel room. I want to show that car show photo album without having 8 heads over my phone. These projectors doesn’t need to be very high resolution of produce a huge screen on the wall.

  • More battery time: instead of releasing a phone with 4 cores a graphic accelerator and a huge resolution, release phone with the power and resolution of the Nexus but with 3 or 4 days of autonomy. It’s a pain on the a** having to charge the phone mid-day, and all new phones are the same.

  • Frontal camera: Skype, Google talk, etc support or will support videocalling. Ok, some new Android phones have this, but it on itself not enough for me to change.

  • Digital TV receiver: Phones capable of receiving digital TV have been available for years (I saw one imported from China in 2008). Combined with a picoprojector could let you have a TV anywhere.

Sometimes it looks like phone makers are waiting for Apple to innovate and then make copycat of the new Apple’s features and tagging their phones “iPhone killers”. Sorry, they are not killers, they are copiers at most and now that Apple is mostly there with Android on OS features (notifications, multitasking, etc) Android makers could take a big hit if a new iPhone includes some real hardware innovation.

tags: [ software libre · linux · cacharros ]
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