I lament the fact that cell phone manufacturers can’t put together the perfect cell phone. It’s not that the technology isn’t there; All the features I am looking for exist. The problem is that they exist on about 3 different phones! Not very practical if you ask me.
“Required Features” are features that seem to come as “options” on most Smartphones today. This would be things beyond data service, text messages and PIM features (since those features are the defining features to make a phone a “Smartphone”). But they are features that I think should become standard on future Smartphones.
Any non-entry level handsets produces today should support Bluetooth. I want to be able to use my bluetooth headset with it wirelessly so I can leave it in my pocket and just mess with the earpiece. I want to be able to sync my address book from my computer without having to purchase an additional cable. I want to be able to use the data service on my phone with my computer when I am stuck in a hotel without WiFi and need that e-mail fix. I want to play around with the control that Blue Phone Elite gives me. In short, I want bluetooth (You hear me Danger? I’m talking about the Sidekick…)
2. Not Motorola
I currently have a Motorola V600 phone. It actually comes close to having all the features I would want in the perfect phone. Except that its user interface appears to have been thrown together last minute and is unintelligible. It is so bad, that I won’t consider any future Motorola phones (This includes the hot RAZOR and PEBL). It really makes me miss my Nokia 3650, even with its difficult old-fashioned rotary keypad.
My 3650 had all the great integrations that the V600 lacks. Have a picture you have taken and need to send it someone nearby over bluetooth? Nokia had that option right at your fingertips. The V600? I’m not even sure where to start looking, because it is definitely not right by the photo album…
3. QWERTY Keyboard
I don’t care how good your predictive text features are. It makes me think too hard when trying to compose a message. And trust me, it is taking most of my braincells to put the words together. Trying to figure out the right key press combo to get the message out overloads my little brain.
4. Advanced data access
I’ve got to be able to read my e-mail without firing up a crappy WAP browser. And while I’m at it, a full featured web browser. This is the first feature I’ve required that doesn’t really exist today. Palm and RIM both have improved ones, but they still aren’t great. There is still a lot of work in this area to make all web pages available on a smaller screen.
You’ve got to let me write apps for your platform. This worked to great success with the original Palm, to the point that there are now a couple hundred thousand Palm apps out there (including 3 by me). If you needed an app that does X, chances are somebody else had that same itch and hopefully scratched it before you got there. Closed platforms can only hurt you.
2. World Phone
If I’m going to be paying top dollar for a new phone, I want to be able to make calls wherever I go without any hassle. This means a GSM phone and either Cingular or T-Mobile.
These are the features that wouldn’t be a show-stopper if the phone didn’t have them. But the perfect one would…
1. Flip Phone
This is actually the best part of the V600. It flips up nice and small and I can easily wear it on my belt (and mine shows the full year of wearing it that way from the numerous dings on the outside). Now of course this is a large thing to ask with a QWERTY keyboard, but come on people. Be creative!
It is nice to always have some sort of camera with you. But I don’t use it nearly enough to make it a requirement. I could get by without it.
So I’ve looked for some phones that meet my criteria. The Sidekick II lacks bluetooth. The BlackBerrys have a terrible form factor and also lack cameras. The IPAQ’s cost nearly as much as a new laptop. So far, only the Treo 650 even comes close, and it still a bit pricey (since I can’t get it from T-mobile).
So please, Mr. Cell Phone Manufacturer. Take a break from being innovative in the form factor arena (you hear me Nokia?) and get the feature set right first. Once somebody gets all the right features in there, then we can worry about making the form factor something innovate.
The title of this article is from a joke that I don’t remember the punchline to. It starts out:
The Tooth Fairy, the Easter Bunny, and a Smart Blonde walk into a bar…
I also want to add that while I wrote this in Decemeber of 2005, I could have easily written this exact same article in November of 2004 when I was previously looking at cell phones.