August 28, 2014

Three Hardware Standards Android Handset Manufacturers Need to Implement

Since the debut of the T-Mobile G1 in October 2008, Android has grown exponentially.  The platform has progressed from 1.0 to 2.1, with high-end Android handsets being all the rage in recent months.

With the rapid growth of the platform we have seen many different pieces of hardware that  show off the range that Android operating system provides.  From the T-Mobile Huawei Pulse to the Sprint HTC EVO 4G, handsets have had screen sizes ranging from 2.8″ to 4.3″, different processors, and varying internal storage capacity.  Honestly, this is one of the great things about Android! Despite these differences, there have been some similarities, such as the  volume rocker, home button, back button, and search button (some of you may be asking why I did not include dialer button, but the Motorola Cliq XT and several other HTC handsets do not feature this.)

Before we get carried away with ourselves, the point of this post is not to discuss the similarities and differences in Android handsets, but to detail hardware standards, especially when it comes to buttons and switches.  Take a look to see what I think about this below.

1. Mute/Silent Switch

One of the major gripes I have about the hardware on Android handsets is that there is not a quick way to silence the phone.  Sure, if someone calls me while I am in a meeting I can just hit the volume rocker or I can even get an app that silences the phone if it is face down.  This works.  With all this, I still wish there was a hardware switch to flip to make the phone silent. The only Android phone I know that has this to date is the Motorola Cliq.  Whenever my wife silences here phone it is very easy, switch it and boom.  All I am saying is it would be much easier if all Android handsets had this.  It is much more convenient and faster than unlocking the phone and turning the volume all the way down or pressing a widget.  I think this is needed.

2. GPS /Maps Switch

The lack of a GPS/Maps switch on any Android handsets is something that needs to be changed.  In fact, I am unsure if any major handset(even the iPhone) has a button that turns on the GPS and opens up the Google Maps application.  Sure, you can unlock the phone and turn on Google Maps then place it in the car mount and go, that works great.  However, when driving or needing to get somewhere quickly, there should be a better, faster option.  If possible, it would be great to just flip a switch or push a button on a handset while it is in the car mount and Google Maps would open right up, GPS turn on, and you can speak your directions easily without fiddling with the screen.  Handset makers have camera buttons to open the camera application all the time, I can’t see it being to difficult to add a switch or button a GPS/Maps application.

3. Camera Button

Speaking of the camera button.  It really is something nice to have isn’t it?  A colleague of mine who owns the Motorola Droid, simply loves the hardware button.  Honestly, I never really thought much about it, but when I used his Droid to take some photos, using the camera button was absolutely fantastic! One push and boom the camera is on.  Just like that.  I can’t tell you how many times my wife told me to take a picture and by the time I unlocked my phone and found the camera app, the moment was over.  I think Android handset manufactures should think long and hard about adding a standard camera button, it makes it much easier.

So that’s it from me.  Now the question is what standards, if any, would you like to see?  Let us know in the comments!