December 19, 2014

The Perfect Mobile OS Deserves the Perfect Phone. This Is It.

android_love_jpgI loved the Palm OS, but the honeymoon faded quickly.  Same story with Windows mobile.  I had high hopes for the gargantuan in Redmond’s foray into the mobile world only to be disappointed.  It wasn’t long before I was looking for something better.  Android is a different story.

We are about to celebrate our one year anniversary together and the thrill is still there just like when I opened the box and first saw that bright “G1” shine at me from the screen.  One could debate the reasons for its strengths and argue about its weaknesses for some time but few will question that what is keeping Android relevant are the amazing developers. 

I’m referring to both those who provide us with these amazing apps as well as those at Google who continue to fine-tune an already amazing OS.  This of course is an opinion piece and I am likely to change mine but for now, I know I have found the perfect mobile OS!  Doesn’t it deserve the perfect phone?  I think so.

It’s almost silly to call what we carry around a ‘phone’ anymore.  Sure, it makes and receives calls but that’s just a function of the device much like 98% of cars receive and play back music radio stations but we don’t call them radios!  No, the perfect phone isn’t a phone but an information hub that provides us with directions, entertainment, information and sure, in a pinch, we can use it for calls.

Cell phones went through an interesting phase in the late 90’s; they got smaller and smaller.  This was hilariously lampooned in Zoolander.  Remember the tiny phone the evil Mugatu held up to his ear?  The ultimate cool dude had the ultimate phone.  Sometime after they shrank to these minuscule devices they did an about face and started growing again.  Why the turnaround?  It came out a desire for more functionality.  Phones now had cameras and screens and the new bells and whistles added girth.

While this was happening, our laptops were getting smaller.  Components got smaller, need for portability grew and before we knew it we had the netbook craze.  Cute little laptops that just about fit in your back pocket.

The Android OS deserves an Information Hub (Info-Hub) worthy of its power.  This Info-Hub will be the perfect combination of the smaller netbooks and larger cell phone.  This is my vision of that “Big Bang” and the device that evolves from it.

The Info-Hub Must Have…

Slide-Out Keyboard

I like the virtual keyboard for quick messages and searches but, the Info-Hub will need a real slide out keyboard.  It’s a must.  This is more than a phone; It’s a source of information.  I need to be able to type out what I need to find or document quickly.

Camera w/ Flash

The Info-Hub must have a camera that transforms the swiss-army knife of information into a camera and camcorder that will work under any lighting conditions.

10 Gigs of storage space minimum

Developers have given us some pretty amazing tools that allow us to put music, pics and videos on their servers giving us access to multiple gigs of space.  The trade off is you have to login and often times wait for access to your stuff.  Additionally, if you are driving and happen to hit a dead-spot, you are out of luck.  Air travel is a lonely proposition as well.  The Info-Hub will make it easy to store just about everything you want in an always-there area.

Superb Speakers

The Info-Hub can’t have those “tinny” sounding speakers that require silence to really hear the sound coming from the device like Info-Hub enthusiasts will demand.  The sound on phones has been getting better and better, its time to go that extra mile on the Info-Hub.

BIG screen

Sure, I can watch a movie on the 3-inch screen I have now but not for long without having to rub my poor sore eyeballs.  The Info-Hub will have to have at least 8 inches of glorious crystal clear screen.  Now, this is clearly going to be the biggest challenge for whoever decides to take on the manufacturing task of building my Info-Hub, but I have some ideas.  I envision a standard touch screen of no less than 4 inches diagonal.  This will be the primary screen that we use the majority of the time, but when we need a little more acreage for our tasks (we want to see a movie, type a novel, etc) we slide-out the extra monitor from behind the Info-Hub.  The monitor extensions will slide out of the right, left and top.  The Info-Hub will sense the screen has been expanded and automatically scale across what is now a large 8 inch monitor!

Projector

The Info-hub is for collecting and then sharing information.  The projector will display the screen image a wall or screen making presentations simple and convenient.

Remote Control

This is key.  The Info-Hub must be able to sit on the corner of one room playing my streaming music out of its amazing sound system while I control the music or presentation from the other side.  Of course, additional components, especially removable ones, are fraught with dangers.  What if it’s lost?  Where do I keep it when I’m done with it?  This has all been thought through of course!  The remote control will come with a GPS tracker and alarm that will beep when it’s a certain distance away from the main unit.  That distance is set by you with a default of twenty feet.  When you are done with the remote you simply slide it perfectly into the bottom of the Info-Hub.  A place for everything and everything in its place!

Stand

Finally, the Info-Hub will need to be easily propped up in several different positions.  It will need to sit on the dash of your car when you need it to be a GPS.  It will rest on your night stand when you need it to be an alarm clock.  When you are watching a movie you will need it to sit up in a way that the monitors slide out.  The pull out stands that sit in the rear and pull out vertically and horizontally will serve this purpose.

So, that’s it.  The next generation of the “phone”.  Now, its time to see which manufacturer is going to pick up the ball and run with it.  Motorola?  LG? HTC?  Google?

Obviously this article was written with tongue firmly implanted in cheek.  But, it is fun to consider the possibilities, right?

Now its your turn.

When you envision the “phone” of the future, what do you see?  What are your must have components?   Let’s build the Info-Hub together!  First thing we probably need is a better name .  Leave a comment with your ideas!



  • eYe

    Pretty crazy description. Too wild for a PHONE first device. I have a way less ambitious descrition:

    1. Solid construction – iPhone quality and design with slide-out KB
    2. Bigger screen – 8″ is waay to much for a phone, 4-4.5″ is good.
    3. Bad-a$$ internals and removable storage, netbook power in a phone is what we need.
    4. Video-out and 3.5mm jack.
    5. Removable, long-lasting battery, give me at least 2 days with moderate use.
    6. Absolutely NO carrier junk on the phone/OS.

    Give me that and I’m happy, I don’t need crazy options, it’s a phone with PDA capabilites, it’s not a home computer replacement.

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/JoseSalviati JoseSalviati

      Nice. Two days without a charge, wow, that would be amazing!

  • Nabil

    Energy…

    I think with all theses amazing features the major challenge remains the battery life …

    Great article BTW !

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/JoseSalviati JoseSalviati

      Good point about battery life. The Info-Hub listed here would probably run for a solid 22 minutes before needing to charge! Haha, great point – sorry I missed that! Thanks Nabil.

  • CompactDstrxion

    eYe, the advantage of Android is you needn't worry about #6. Even if network crapware was installed, it would only be a matter of time before someone took it all out for us.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/droidin droidin

    Car is not a stereo on wheels. But whatever I carry in my pants (hey – I'm referring to the pockets)needs to be able to make phone calls – period. So, it is a phone (btw I love Google Voice)

  • Dara Parsavand

    I've thought a lot (way too much actually) about screen size and form factors for my perfect phone. Until some roll up technology really proves itself, I see no way around the single 4 to 4.5" screen – I'm not interested in borders within my display. After playing with a few simple mock-ups, I think the 11 cm (about 4.3") diag, 16:9 screen is the way to go. It is a common size on GPS devices and it is on the PSP. Economies of scale matter. With 6 mm borders on the side and 11 mm top and bottom (admittedly trim, but still room for a mic and speaker for phone use and a few buttons), that gets us to a 118×66 mm front face. Big, but not as big as Toshiba's new phone (TG01 is 129x70mm). Perhaps engineering constraints will lengthen my perfect phone (going to 126 mm gets you 15 mm top and bottom borders), but I see no need to widen it (iPhone has the same 6 mm borders). I'd round the corners a bit more than the iPhone – something like the shape Blackberries have. That leaves thickness and I want battery life so I'm not so crazy about taking this larger phone with a more power hungry display and thinning it out as much as possible. I'd go a bit thicker than the iPhone, perhaps around 14 mm.

    I had a G1 for a month and I hated the slide out keyboard (too much pressure with my thumbs required for a key press). Now perhaps I'd opt for a slider if I found the perfect one, but I think they put too big a constraint on the thickness (the G1 is 16 mm and the battery life isn't great). Most of the time I don't need any more than a soft keypad anyway. However, I realize many others feel differently and here is where I think you should put your thoughts into as far as wild and crazy design goes (and no the screen where your ideas are completely unrealistic for the near future. My thoughts are for a completely detachable board that magnetically joins the back of the phone and uses some very short range wireless channel (possible inductive if that is the lowest power) to get the key presses onto the phone.

    I've also thought a lot about resolution. If you hold a phone close to your eye, say 10 inches (which isn't that close – most people can focus at that distance), you can utilize a DPI of up to 340 (after that, the pixels take up less than 1/60 a degree and you may not perceive any increase in resolution). 340 DPI is a lot, but some existing phones get close – the Sony Experia is the highest I know of at 311 DPI. An 11 cm screen at 340 DPI, gets you to the magical 1280×720 resolution, the lowest one qualifying for actual HD and now becoming a more common YouTube format. All that resolution is also useful to putting a lot of detail in a map (being a superb GPS with a stand-alone topographic mapping program is one of the main roles for my perfect phone).

    Dara Parsavand

    • Jose Salviati

      Wow Dara! You HAVE thought about this a lot. Thanks for your thoughts. Together, we WILL build the perfect "phone" :)

  • Y314K

    Well… Some of the things on the list are years away… But all would be great… It seems HTC is working on making a phone that will have most of my basic requirements and it should be out with Eclair…

    My non-negotiable specs are:

    Android OS – Best OS period
    Rosie (HTC Sense UI) – The other UI’s I’ve seen can’t touch Rosie.
    4.x + Capacitive Screen w/ multi-touch
    800×480+ resolution
    3.5mm jack
    5mp+ cam & vid w/ flash
    Full Flash support – Eclair should take care of that.
    Long lasting battery

    Seems HTC is quietly working on this “HTC Dragon (dubbed “Zoom 2″)”…

    http://www.droiddog.com/android-blog/2009/10/is-htc-birthing-a-fire-breathing-dragon/

    Can’t wait… The future is this Dec. or Jan. LOL

  • johnkzin

    4.3 or 4.5" touch screen, 800×480 resolution (like a Nokia N810) (more for external resolution)
    5 row comfortable keyboard (like the G1 — best phone keyboard I've used)
    dpad and basic buttons on the face
    styling like an HTC Touch Pro 2 maybe, or Nokia Mako
    3.5mm jack
    charge/data via mini or micro USB
    docking station port for USB keyboard/mouse and DVI-I video (ie. KVM capability)
    Android or Maemo OS … or, really, a hybrid of Android, Maemo, and Ubuntu. Maemo 4 + dalvik coud be pretty ideal. Maybe Maemo 5 + dalvik.
    decent cam with flash and vid
    LONG lasting battery
    at least one external microSDHC card slot
    an internal microSDHC card slot for housing the OS (lots of expandable OS/apps storage; like the N900's 32GB of internal storage)
    Full bluetooth suite, including HID, BIP, PAN, DUN, FTP
    built-in app for wifi sharing/tethering
    USB tethering
    VNC viewer
    VNC server
    Redfly support
    read/write google docs
    full gmail (send as, filter editing/creating, label creating, etc.)
    full google reader (add/edit tags, keyboard shortcuts)
    SyncML for contacts, calendar, tasks/to-do, bookmarks, and notes
    1GB RAM
    quadband GSM
    Euro+AT&T+T-Mobile 3G
    ideally, dual SIM cards, so you can pick which card to put each of your data, messaging, and voice on (perhaps data on one, voice+messaging on the other)
    (and, in the future, probably LTE … though, if T-Mobile goes WiMAX, maybe not)

  • http://twitter.com/spiritodouro @spiritodouro

    GPS+Compass
    Wi-fi
    5" bright screen
    webcam
    suberb sound
    touchscreen
    optional 3G
    Root Android
    100-200 grams
    7-8 hour battery life

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