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What's Next For Smartphone Innovation

Soulskill posted about a year and a half ago | from the integrated-cloaking-device dept.

Cellphones 257

SternisheFan sends in an article about the new features and developments we can expect out of smartphones in the near future. The shortlist: more sensors for tracking the world outside the phone, more gesture-based (i.e. non-touch) input, and integration with wearable computers like smartwatches and Google Glass. From the article: "These under-appreciated components -- the gyroscope, accelerometer, magnetometer, and so forth -- are starting to get more friends in the neighborhood. Samsung, for instance, slipped pressure, temperature, and humidity sniffers into the Galaxy S4. They may not be the sexiest feature in your phone, but in the future, sensors like accelerometers will be able to collect and report much more detailed information. ... In addition to air quality, temperature and speed of movement are also biggies. [Also, a smartphone that can] track your pulse, or even double as an EKG, turning the everyday smartphone into a medical device. ... [For wearable computing,] your smartphone is still there, still essential for communicating with your environment, but it becomes only one device in a collection of other, even more personal or convenient gadgets, that solve some of the same sorts of problems in different or complementary ways." What do you think will be the next generation of killer features for smartphones?

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Innovation (5, Insightful)

Nerdfest (867930) | about a year and a half ago | (#43441993)

Simply adding existing sensors to phones is not 'innovation'. It's the logical outcome of miniaturization and reduced power requirements, despite what the marketing says. Between Apple and most of the car manufacturers the word 'innovation' seems to have lost all meaning.

Re:Innovation (5, Insightful)

Nerdfest (867930) | about a year and a half ago | (#43442003)

I should add that the 'killer feature' for smartphones at this point should be a much better battery life, or better durability. Everyone I see raves about how thin a phone is and then slaps it in a rubberized case that at least doubles the thickness.

Re:Innovation (5, Informative)

greenfruitsalad (2008354) | about a year and a half ago | (#43442141)

durability AND battery life. not OR. these 2 features are the only 2 i would happily pay extra for. i don't need the phone to glow blue when orcs are near, pluck my nose hair or keep my crotch cool in summer. I want it to be soft&bendy (TM) so I can sit on it (with keys/coins in the same pocket) and i don't want to have to carry a 5 year old nokia in my bag in case i actually need a phone for emergency, because there's 80% chance my main phone will be out of juice when i need it most.

Re:Innovation (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43442233)

Why wouldn't you just carry a spare battery rather than a whole different phone? Wait a minute... IPHONE (L)USER ALERT!!!! GUARDS! TAKE HIM!

Re:Innovation (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43442495)

He could just as well have a Nexus 4.

Hint (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43442627)

iPhone owners aren't the ones that need more battery power.

Re:Innovation (2)

Nerdfest (867930) | about a year and a half ago | (#43442341)

Well, they did say 'feature', singular. I'd be happy with either, and ecstatic with both. I may need to add the 'crotch cooling' feature to my wish-list though.

Re:Innovation (4, Funny)

ExploHD (888637) | about a year and a half ago | (#43442375)

i don't need the phone to ... keep my crotch cool in summer.

Speak for yourself

Re:Innovation (1)

Mycroft_VIII (572950) | about a year and a half ago | (#43442827)

I've seen universal battery extenders. basically just batteries with a USB power only port on them and a way to recharge themselves.

Mycroft

Re:Innovation (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43442251)

Every see a gadget magazine run a feature on a phone because it has incrementally better battery life? No? New features it is!

Re:Innovation (4, Interesting)

epiphani (254981) | about a year and a half ago | (#43442315)

Durability is not generally designed into current smartphones. Intentionally. Think about the volume of sales, and how they would decrease, if devices didn't break within about 2-3 years. In fact, durability nearly sank RIM - as most people were comparing new iPhones with the original bold - released at the same time as the original iPhone.

2-3 years is an eon in mobile right now. If devices don't die, people don't upgrade.

Re:Innovation (1)

craigminah (1885846) | about a year and a half ago | (#43442409)

Durability, battery life, and better quality voice. AT&T is working on "HD voice" but I want all cell providers to bump voice quality up.

Re: Innovation (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43442875)

maybe everyone you see. i don't put my phone in a case because i want my phone to be as thin as possible in my pocket. that said, my iphone 4s is thin enough. bring on the better battery life.

Re: Innovation (1)

MysteriousPreacher (702266) | about a year and a half ago | (#43442007)

Depends what they do with the sensors.

Re: Innovation (3, Interesting)

icebike (68054) | about a year and a half ago | (#43442273)

Depends what they do with the sensors.

Why they track you of course. What else? Look, nobody needs to have their phone tell them the humidity or air pressure.

What is that all about?

Its for crowd sourcing local weather, (or at least the weather in your pocket or purse). But all of that is for someone
else's benefit, not the phone owner. If you were able to legislatively forbid the transmission of temperature, pressure,
humidity across the network, would there still be any rational reason to include these sensors? I would say probably not.

Re: Innovation (2)

craigminah (1885846) | about a year and a half ago | (#43442413)

They improve the accuracy of drone strikes.

Re:Innovation (2)

Shortguy881 (2883333) | about a year and a half ago | (#43442107)

innovation - the introduction of something new If your going to argue over the semantics of the word look it up. Adding on little sensors is the exact definition of innovation. Furthermore, this is a perfect example of convergence theory. It will reach a point were nearly anything and everything will be accessible right there on your phone. With the advancements in biotechnology and human computer interfaces, it wont be long before the phone will become an integral part of us, literally. The real question is by that point will it still be called a phone?

Re: Innovation (2)

artemis67 (93453) | about a year and a half ago | (#43442223)

By that measurement, smartphones, themselves, would not be regarded as innovative because they all used existing technology.

Re:Innovation (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43442903)

I've been saying for years, to whomever would listen, that they need to add fingerprint scanners to smartphones. I have no intention of ever using mobile banking apps (or worse), until I can get rid of the 4-digit PIN.

I'm still waiting.

The killer feature would be (5, Interesting)

fisted (2295862) | about a year and a half ago | (#43441995)

reasonable battery life. I stick with my dumbphone until that happens.

Battery life (1)

chevelleSS (594683) | about a year and a half ago | (#43442203)

I think Heterogenous computing will play a key roll in increasing battery life in the next few years. AMD, ARM and Samsung among others have been working to get an API together that will allow regular code to work on a CPU or a GPU depending on which will perform the best as long as the processor and GPU are on the same piece of silicon and share the same memory cache. Studies (http://pbbakkum.com/db/) have shown that sqlite gets a 15% performance increase (or less power usage per query) by running the database off a GPU, and Oracle (http://news.softpedia.com/news/AMD-and-Oracle-Team-Up-for-Heterogeneous-Computing-on-Java-295882.shtml) is working on project "Sumatra" which will allow Java applications to get better performance with less power. Tie this in with Samsung creating a new HSA enabled device, and we could see some interesting changes in the phone market!

Re:Battery life (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43442259)

They're beginning to put 8000ma batteries into tablets, currently used as usb backup power. Put one in an ultra-thin smartphone and it could run for a week, though ymmv.

Re:The killer feature would be (5, Interesting)

auric_dude (610172) | about a year and a half ago | (#43442297)

A privacy app where the user has complete control of everything be it leaking information & data to social networks, their affiliates, partners and assorted purchasers of such stuff. Something along the lines of http://tosdr.org/ [tosdr.org] or the slumbering https://www.eff.org/press/archives/2009/06/03-0 [eff.org] .

Re:The killer feature would be (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43442303)

The phone has the dumbest name ever, but get a DROID RAZR MAXX HD. I was very hesitant to switch to a phone without a physical keyboard, but the draw of a smartphone with a marathon battery finally made me switch.

I'm a road warrior that doesn't always have an outlet available, and I use my phone heavily for email and other communication. I have never managed to get the phone down below 40% during a single day. It's survived - without any charging - a 7:00 AM wake up followed by a full day of use, a redeye transatlantic flight without power, and then another full day of use and still had 10% or so left before I plugged it in at night the next day.

It's not quite at a week without charging like you might get with a dumb phone, but it's "good enough" as long as you can generally charge it at least once every two days. Which I don't think is unreasonable.

Just get an iPhone and use 3G (2)

SuperKendall (25149) | about a year and a half ago | (#43442643)

reasonable battery life. I stick with my dumbphone until that happens.

The iPhone 5 today, gets around two days of battery.

However a significant portion of the battery use is LTE. If you are willing to have a somewhat slower network, the iPhone may make it three or four days (can't confirm, have not tried).

The point is that if battery life is an issue for you, then look at a platform that has all along been ensuring that battery life is preserved when possible.

Re:The killer feature would be (4, Insightful)

digitig (1056110) | about a year and a half ago | (#43442651)

I really miss the ability to make phone calls on the things.

The return of the physical keyboard. (4, Insightful)

sethstorm (512897) | about a year and a half ago | (#43442005)

Given that the touchscreen is at best imperfect for keyboard use, bringing back an integrated physical keyboard (e.g. a slider) back to higher-end models would be an innovation.

There is only so far a touchscreen can go before a full array of physical buttons outclass the screen - especially when it comes to input that doesn't have direct sight.

Re:The return of the physical keyboard. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43442137)

Speak for you own. I can type on a touchscreen keyboard as fast as on a real one.
In addition do the touch based keyboards have an incomparable advantage : different languages possible.
A physical keyboard limits you to one language, to one input layout. That's not innovative. Physical keyboards on smartphones are old news.
I need more than one language. (I speak 7 languages...)

In all seriousness : what's up with you conservative grumpy techies stuck in the old age??? I guess you miss floppy drives, CRTs, Model M keyboards and big beige boxes, too?!

Re:The return of the physical keyboard. (1)

sethstorm (512897) | about a year and a half ago | (#43442237)

No, just a stickler for quality and usability - IPS-panel 4:3 laptops, Model F terminal keyboards, and N900-like-in-openness phone platforms are about what I have here.

Besides, it's not as if you couldnt make a physical button to remap its visual content. Just need to make it cheaper.

Re:The return of the physical keyboard. (4, Interesting)

rueger (210566) | about a year and a half ago | (#43442267)

bringing back an integrated physical keyboard

God yes! I'm sure that touchscreen is just divine in southern California, but if you're in the rain, or snow, or it's cold, or your fingers are numb, it's useless. More than once I haven't even been able to answer a phone call because it was raining and the touchscreen was non-responsive.

The thing that smart phone makers seemed to have missed is that an awful lot of what you use a smartphone for actually requires typing, navigation, and desktop-like functions. As much as I've generally like my Samsung/Nexus phone, I'll probably go Blackberry next time just to have a real keyboard - especially if I can remap some of those keys.

Re:The return of the physical keyboard. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43442397)

HTC tried, both the desire z and the cha cha failed miserably. People do not want keyboards. And for Blackberry, have you looked at their current (BB10) model?

Re:The return of the physical keyboard. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43442437)

Have you looked at their next (Q10) model?

Re:The return of the physical keyboard. (1)

rueger (210566) | about a year and a half ago | (#43442863)

Exactly. Real keys. And I can make one of them answer the phone, and one more take pictures, I'll be tickled.

Re:The return of the physical keyboard. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43442269)

Given that the touchscreen is at best imperfect for keyboard use, bringing back an integrated physical keyboard (e.g. a slider) back to higher-end models would be an innovation.

There is only so far a touchscreen can go before a full array of physical buttons outclass the screen - especially when it comes to input that doesn't have direct sight.

It is a phone ffs... Use your main device for typing or get a bluetooth keyboard... I never understood these tiny physical keyboards they used to add (and still do on some models) to phones. And as above, innovation would be adding something new. Not rehashing something that should have died a LOOOOOONG time ago.

No we will not build you new buggy whips (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | about a year and a half ago | (#43442663)

Given that the touchscreen is at best imperfect for keyboard use, bringing back an integrated physical keyboard

I would be with you except that any keyboard that fits in or around a smartphone is ALSO imperfect. I HATED all of the physical keyboards, even the Blackberry... I can type more accurately and with larger keys on a virtual on-screen keyboard.

That is why they went away, because they really are not better at all.

Mooshiness (3, Interesting)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | about a year and a half ago | (#43442011)

The next killer feature for smartphones will be phones that you can sit on - well sit on and not break.

Also, I expect to see them become a little more distributed. A "brain" you leave in your pocket 99% of the time plus seperate UI devices like pebble watch + headset or even google glass.

Killer feature (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43442047)

Lethal injection needle, of course.

That'd be mandatory for Chinese models (1)

sethstorm (512897) | about a year and a half ago | (#43442085)

Post something against the government, receive lethal execution. Then their organ harvesting vans could pick them up promptly, aided with the location feature of the phone.

Re:Killer feature (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43442629)

Another killer feature:

The government (feds, other TLAs) send a remote command that forces the battery to explode and kill you.

Let's hope a warrant is required for that!!

It's a mobile sensor and communications platform (3)

St.Creed (853824) | about a year and a half ago | (#43442053)

... so I expect more sensors in the next wave. And improvement in quality of the existing ones.

After that, I expect some work on the API's for these sensors. And I expect to see basically ANY type sensor that can be miniaturized in a cheap and effective package to appear on the phone. I've already seen Geiger counters you can attach to a phone - if you could make them small enough, the Japanese market is yours.

Also nice:
- A good (near-medical quality) heartrate monitor is doable right now, but would benefit from better color detection in the camera and for Android, a better API. It only works on iPads right now.
- Stereo microphones would help a lot for sensing distance and possibly volume of rooms.
- An inbuilt laser for medium distance measurement would combine VERY nicely with a lot of other sensors.
- that extreme wideband radar that can see through walls and clothing
- infrared sensors

As for other features: apart from the sensors, the communication and the processing power? I think user interface options like laser keyboards. And output options such as the pico-beamers you can already buy. It all needs to become much smaller, but then it would certainly add value.

The main feature: energy storage. We really need better batteries.

Re:It's a mobile sensor and communications platfor (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43442725)

After that, I expect some work on the API's for these sensors. And I expect to see basically ANY type sensor that can be miniaturized in a cheap and effective package to appear on the phone. I've already seen Geiger counters you can attach to a phone - if you could make them small enough, the Japanese market is yours.

There is already an andriod app that does this all you need is a piece of tape to put over the camera CCD which acts as a geiger tube. I don't know about the accuracy but supposedly it has no problem detecting background.

Re :..platform; in 1965 SF author Frederik Pohl (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43442761)

'invented' a device called the 'Joymaker':

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joymaker [wikipedia.org]

"The remote-access computer transponder called the "joymaker" is your most valuable single possession in your new life. If you can imagine a combination of telephone, credit card, alarm clock, pocket bar, reference library, and full-time secretary, you will have sketched some of the functions provided by your joymaker. - from the novel 'Age of the Pussyfoot'

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Age_of_the_Pussyfoot [wikipedia.org]

Except for the described pharmaceutical capabilities, it sounds a lot like something that should be available ,like ...NOW; or at least within the next couple of years!

Siri and google's voice input aps are not QUITE up to the joymaker's standard. The medical-treatment and chemo-recreational capabilities will probably be a long-time-comming, but for political, not technical reasons. On the other hand, Pohl's technology relied on large timeshared computers for processing power; a Nexus 7 would probably been considered pure SF in 1965 (Quad GHz processor!?! GIGABYTES of memory?!? Is that a supercomputer in your pocket?).

1800s (1)

EmperorOfCanada (1332175) | about a year and a half ago | (#43442063)

I can't give a whole answer but I when I had a flip phone I really felt like I was a train conductor in the 1800s pulling out my flip phone to check the time. I still feel that having this big lump in my pocket is fairly stupid. I do like the idea of a watch seeing that it was a convenient replacement for the pocket watch. But it has three failings that I haven't seen and can't think of how to solve and those are getting the sound into your ear, viewing a larger screen, and how to type text messages into your wrist.

People are blah blahing about google glasses and this solves two probems of getting sound into your ear and getting a larger screen but data entry is still a problem. I don't see voice commands as being something that will really work. In many places it would be funny to run up to people and yell "Google Glasses Open (insert most disgusting website you can think of here)" But there are too many quiet places where even mumbling to your glasses will not work. Plus wearing glasses when you don't need them is a bit of a pain.

So limiting my prediction to the near future I see people with a smart phone tucked away in a pack or deep in a pocket, a wrist interface that gives them limited interaction with their phone, and a Saul Goodman style earpiece when they need to talk. But I do foresee some ingenious texting interfaces for the wrist where you can dial up common responses to other people's texts. Maybe your phone will predict your top 10 probable responses and you can select on of those most of the time and dig the lump out of your pocket when you need to do something more advanced.

One big prediction that would even bet on is that for those people who don't maintain a home PC that they will be the people who get the ginormous screened phones. With a ginormous phone(borderline iPad mini sized) and a tiny watch thing you would be pretty well off for most media consumption and not be forced to hold a brick up to your ear.

Re:1800s (1)

n3tm0nk (2725243) | about a year and a half ago | (#43442309)

Well, for getting sound to your ears, there is always bluetooth and speech-to-text could do for texting, or you could use a small bluetooth keypad....

Mech engineering has failed. (5, Insightful)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | about a year and a half ago | (#43442065)

You read any issue of popular science or popular mechanics 50 years ago. All the science fictiony futuristic thingies have come true on the electrical side. TV that hangs like a picture on the wall? Done. Video phones? Done. The entire knowledge of human race at your fingertips? Done. (Though a little disappointed 50% of the knowledge of human race consists of cat videos).

Now on the mech engineering side. Where is my commuter car-plane that is parked on my drive way? huh? What about the high speed trains running in vacuum tunnels going from NY to LA in 90 minutes? Still the same internal combustion engine burning the same damned oil. What happened to crystallic fusion? Dont tell me "aah, we got double As".

Civil, you are not off the hook either. Where the hell is my damned home that is mounted on a pivot that tracks the sun? All engineering fields except electronics have been slacking on the job and have a very disappointing track record.

Re:Mech engineering has failed. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43442349)

Crystallic fusion? Look up the most recent theories on what was previously derided as "cold fusion".... now being called LENR "low energy nuclear reaction"; seems there is something going on after all, and it has nothing to do with fusion that we are familiar with based on the strong nuclear force, but rather is something new, previously unrecognized type of weak force process.

Just give it time.....

Re:Mech engineering has failed. (1)

potpie (706881) | about a year and a half ago | (#43442411)

Just give it time.....

About, say, twenty years?

Re:Mech engineering has failed. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43442599)

(Though a little disappointed 50% of the knowledge of human race consists of cat videos).

I share your disappointment. We need more cat videos.

Re:Mech engineering has failed. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43442721)

Where the hell is my damned home that is mounted on a pivot that tracks the sun?

How many Polish engineers did it take to come up with that idea?

Re:Mech engineering has failed. (4, Informative)

a_mari_usque_ad_mare (1996182) | about a year and a half ago | (#43442757)

Actually, there is quite a bit new in mechanical engineering. You may not be aware of these advances because these things to do not necessarily translate into consumer products or marketing, despite the fact that they solve useful problems and improve our lives.

In materials we have composites, which are extremely strong for their weight. Tough to design, though. Like computing, this started around the 60s and has become more and more sophisticated. The Boeing 787 and other planes use modern composites to greatly reduce weight and save fuel. We have much better steels and other metals than a generation ago, for example google dual phase steels.

Biomedical engineering is mostly mechanical engineering; it involves the design of medical implants. Modern materials can make stronger and lighter replacement bones such as hips. Artificial organs are on the horizon, a real artificial heart has been built and used successfully.

In fluids, we have much better and more optimized airplanes. With computers and the Finite Element Method (FEA), aerodynamics has become much more quantifiable and less model testing is needed. I'm actually glad that aircraft have not been sold at the amateur, consumer level. The way people drive in North America, flying cars would end our so-called civilization. Fluids has also helped design more efficient engines and generators.

All the things I mention solve real problems, and may be classified under the umbrella of mechanical engineering. Its a broad field, so abit hard to define, but in my view anything that requires non-trivial application of mechanics, materials, or thermodynamics can be called mechanical engineering.

Transactions (1)

phantomfive (622387) | about a year and a half ago | (#43442067)

There are a number of startups out there really focused on getting money transfers going for cell phones. Like this one [sfgate.com] .

Based on the number of companies doing it, and their high profiles, I would guess that doing money transfers on phones is something that is about to take off soon. The hurdles are mostly regulatory and network based (you need to connect with the network), and with so many people trying to take on the problem, I imagine one of them at least will be able to make it through.

Re:Transactions (1)

icebike (68054) | about a year and a half ago | (#43442343)

Money transfers via phone already exist, however they have been effectively road blocked in the US by the carriers. Its much more common
in Japan.

Why carriers get a veto over payment by phone is beyond me. Its just TCP/IP and a short range transceiver. Google introduced NFC payments only to have every network except one step up and block it, even if your phone is properly equipped.

I want my car keys, house keys embedded into my phone, with a separate battery that lasts as long as the battery in my Car's Keyless Fob. I want the phone to stop being anything except a phone when its outside of my reach. Shut it all down if it can't see me or the ring on my finger.

PC (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43442097)

When you can bring all the powerfulness of your PC in your pocket

Re:PC (1)

icebike (68054) | about a year and a half ago | (#43442361)

When you can bring all the powerfulness of your PC in your pocket

Really?
Other than the dual 30 inch displays and full keyboard, what can your desktop PC do that your phone can't?
Oh right, run full powered graphics while plugged into the wall. I think I'll skip the extension cord if you
don't mind.

Tricording (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43442099)

Duh.

something rounded (1)

thexile (1058552) | about a year and a half ago | (#43442123)

rounded triangles!

Re:something rounded (1)

sethstorm (512897) | about a year and a half ago | (#43442253)

Pentile already has that covered for you - it's just a matter of visual perception.

The ability to make it unrootable (0)

houghi (78078) | about a year and a half ago | (#43442131)

because that is what the customers want. What? You thought you were the customer? Sorry, you are renting it from the REAL customers: the telco's.

All the rest will be around how good they can track you and how easy they can take money from you.

Re:The ability to make it unrootable (1)

icebike (68054) | about a year and a half ago | (#43442407)

because that is what the customers want. What? You thought you were the customer? Sorry, you are renting it from the REAL customers: the telco's.

All the rest will be around how good they can track you and how easy they can take money from you.

The telcos don't give a fig about rooting. They just don't want to back the warranty for people who root phones.
Simple solution: Forbid telco's from selling phones. We don't see comcast selling TVs, and we don't see power
companies selling Toasters and Lamps, or ISPs selling Computers.

So why do phone companies sell handsets?

The sooner that Retailing handsets is take away from the carriers the better.

Ask no more... (4, Funny)

Dachannien (617929) | about a year and a half ago | (#43442147)

...the future is here:

http://www.google.com/patents/US20120040655 [google.com]

Re:Ask no more... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43442229)

Some Google employee obviously got told to shove their smartphone up their ass, and got ideas.

Re:Ask no more... (1)

SeaFox (739806) | about a year and a half ago | (#43442371)

Some Google employee obviously got told to shove their smartphone up their ass, and got ideas.

I don't think you quite understand what google.com/patents is.

Re:Ask no more... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43442305)

OMG. I can see this guy being sued for all sorts of stuff... That shit is private. What happens when the boyfriend or an employer finds out and installs the app... you get the picture. Stupidest patent ever. WOW

The real innovation... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43442153)

is in software, not hardware. Smartphones are about smart software, nothing else.

Give back what you took away (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43442161)

A keyboard an full OS.

KB (4, Interesting)

Swoopy (101558) | about a year and a half ago | (#43442207)

I want my slide-out keyboard to return. In Europe. On an Android 4.2.2+ phone with sufficient horsepower and working memory, please?

The next killer feature: (1)

excitedidiot (2442050) | about a year and a half ago | (#43442213)

One word: Teledildonics.

Rimless screens (1)

fons (190526) | about a year and a half ago | (#43442247)

That's what I want. A full surface screen.

That could make your phone beautiful.

Computer Integration (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43442263)

You can add that for tablets. Seriously, why do neither of these devices have proper support for extending your computer to them? At he OS level, not simply the App level. transfer of files, control of your screen, etc, after sync and activation of the device via USB orsomething?

maybe google can make a proper quite of software to address this, and add it to Android. Mediaplayer/iTunes/winamp remote, browser transfer (and how about a decent browser to go with it), extended video display (tablet/phone act as an extra monitor in echoe or extension mode), media streaming to device,

make the phone and tablet actually work WITH the desktop device, instead of repeating everything done on it over and over again via a multiude of resource hogging apps.

2 Days of battery? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43442265)

Screw all that other crap. I need 2 days of expected battery life so that after 2 yrs of use, 1 day will actually be possible.

That doesn't mean babying the device either. I need to leave wifi, cell phone, and GPS running 48 hrs, plus have 10 apps running the entire time.

Last weekend, I was in Seoul trying to use a city guide app, a subway app, take a few panorama photos, and use local wifi whenever available. The Nexus 4 battery was fully charged when I started out at 7am. by 2pm, it was down to 10%. Unacceptable.

Battery life. Please, please, please.

Re:2 Days of battery? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43442299)

If your smartphone runs at about 4 watts then you could try and run it on teh cold fusions [wired.co.uk]

Smaller... (1)

n3tm0nk (2725243) | about a year and a half ago | (#43442295)

I am ready to see the smart phone go the way of the do-do. I am waiting for cell-phone watches to move along a bit. Small, unobtrusive, out-of-sight. Big smart-phones are the equivalent of bling......they look cool, but don't really add anything to my life except another toy to have to replace when it is sat upon, dropped or stolen. They are kind of like the equivalent of sports cars. "Look at my phone. Imagine how big my genitalia must be..." meh...

Nothing to do with your cock (1)

tuppe666 (904118) | about a year and a half ago | (#43442461)

"Look at my phone. Imagine how big my genitalia must be..."

You could not be father from the truth. Penile insecurity is not the reason for larger screen...they simply offer a larger viewing area. Ironically earlier adopters of pablet [tabone maybe] were small women...not sausage finger 7' Men as I would have expected, and for the life of me I couldn't figure out why [and It wasn't due to a gaping V-J]...it was because they have handbags.

Hopefully its if and not when Apple decide to expand their product line to include a mini and a maxi phone, otherwise they are in danger of losing relevance even faster than they are now. And we will continue to have drivel about the one true phone propaganda for the like of you.

Re:Nothing to do with your cock (1)

n3tm0nk (2725243) | about a year and a half ago | (#43442695)

Well, I realize that a larger screen offers a larger viewing area, but the reason people buy them is totally different. The vast majority of people I know who own an Iphone or Galaxy maxi-phone ( as you so eloquently describe them) never use it to do anything but make phone calls, text, check email, take pictures and play music. That's it. I can do all of that on a much smaller device that has little or no bling potential and actually serves a useful purpose to me. Hey, I don't care what u use, I jut just being judgmental and close-minded in an effort to make the clock tick a little faster.....

Tricorder (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43442321)

Just a few more sensors, add the right apps, smartphone becomes a tricorder, or at least as close as we can get with current technology.

Optical Zoom (1)

kervin (64171) | about a year and a half ago | (#43442323)

With Smartphones used so much for photography now, it's sad that we don't have at least 1-2x optical zoom on most phones.

Medical sensors are definitely more important. But I believe optical zoom would be used more overall.

And yes, it would be innovative because it's apparently a very difficult problem to solve on a massive scale and within a marketable pricepoint.

Re:Optical Zoom (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43442457)

My phone already has 1x zoom!

Re:Optical Zoom (1)

Dcnjoe60 (682885) | about a year and a half ago | (#43442483)

With Smartphones used so much for photography now, it's sad that we don't have at least 1-2x optical zoom on most phones

Look at the size of the lens on even a low end digital camera that has optical zoom. There is a reason why digital cameras take better pictures than phones and it has nothing to do with how many megapixels there are. When gathering light, through a lens, size matters.

Primary Function (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43442327)

Capturing some of the comments above and my own, I'd like to get back to basics.
- voice calls whether it's by mobile phone provider or Skype.
- real keyboard.

So the short version:
N900 style with the best of Nokia plus the latest hardware with the clean software of Google Nexus.

and no FB integration!

Re: Primary Function (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43442547)

Like a Sony Xperia Mini Pro with Cyanogenmod? Also survives being sat on. :)

modular devices (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43442395)

Upgrading the CPU. Replacing the battery. Adding more RAM. All these will be possible with the modular phone.

http://rhombus-tech.net/ [rhombus-tech.net]
http://aseigo.blogspot.nl/2013/04/the-luminosity-of-free-software-episode.html [blogspot.nl]
http://www.golem.de/news/aaron-seigo-vivaldi-tablet-mit-austauschbarer-open-hardware-1304-98707.html [golem.de]
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wq0Dx04PcHk [youtube.com]

keep it all, give me better battery life (1)

sleigh (15629) | about a year and a half ago | (#43442429)

To hell with the humidity sniffers and the rest. I most want a phone with a battery good for at least three days at my current usage patterns, which right now give me like 1/2 a day. I hate having to tether my phone to a charger everywhere I go during the day.

I have an idea. Stop making the phone thinner so you can brag about it being the thinnest. How about make a version of the top phone that's actually thicker, and then brag about battery life? You know, how Motorola did with the Razr Max?

Decent sounding phone calls (3, Insightful)

ebob (220513) | about a year and a half ago | (#43442459)

I don't mind the rush to add more features to phones, but I wish more effort could be spent on the obvious missing feature: better voice quality. Now that internet bandwidths are high enough to stream HD video, why can't we have intelligible voice communication? I can make a VOIP call from my smartphone that sounds like a land line. But a regular phone call is often so garbled that you spend more time saying "WHAT?" than communicating.

Re:Decent sounding phone calls (2)

jtownatpunk.net (245670) | about a year and a half ago | (#43442655)

Amen, brother!

The audio quality of cellular voice calls has been falling for years. My first analog cell phone sounded pretty darn good when I wasn't at the edge of a service area. Cost me $25-30/month for the service. It's been a downhill slide since then. Now I've got a device that retailed for $700 new (it's already been discontinued so you can't buy then new any more) with a $115/month service contract and it sounds worse than a $9.99 wired land line phone.

I've been hearing for years how US carriers are working on higher quality voice calls but none of them have actually done it.

Probably.... (3, Funny)

Dcnjoe60 (682885) | about a year and a half ago | (#43442467)

What do you think will be the next generation of killer features for smartphones?

Probably biofeedback sensors that can transmit as well as receive. That way, not only can your smart phone monitor your heart rate, it can send a pulse to stop it, too. That would definitely be a killer feature.

Add A Radiation Detection Sensor aka Fukushima (1)

chaosdivine69 (1456649) | about a year and a half ago | (#43442477)

With the world going to HE double hockey sticks, perhaps someone wants to add a radiation detector to a phone? Fukushima, North Korea, Iran, Taco Time Burritos...it all adds up!

A little more GNU plese. (3, Insightful)

tuppe666 (904118) | about a year and a half ago | (#43442487)

Personally I want to move control over the phone from the company...to me. Android is the best option out their right now, but its a long way from being an optimum solution. Increasingly they are becoming devices others control.

How about better networks (1)

gelfling (6534) | about a year and a half ago | (#43442541)

All the features in the world don't matter when you have typically horrible service. Or at least a feature that allows me to nuke Sprint.

software defined radio (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43442545)

software defined radio, so you can move phone from different networks without worrying about if your phone is gsm cdma or whatever

What's next for smartphone innovation? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43442555)

It's not quite an innovation, but how hard would it be to take for designers to forget planned obsolescence, pull their heads out of their fundamental orifices and simply make them waterproof?

how about a real keyboard? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43442557)

since touchscreen isn't reliable that's what i'm looking for in my next android phone.

Sensors (1)

rvw (755107) | about a year and a half ago | (#43442613)

What's next for smartphones is not in the phone, it's outside the phone. I think we will see sensors - yes maybe in the form of a (i)watch - that communicate with the phone, and that gather and send data like heart rate, position, nfc. They will work independently, have their own batteries, have a much longer battery life, no lcd screen, maybe an epaper screen.

No wonder phones are so crap (1)

Let's All Be Chinese (2654985) | about a year and a half ago | (#43442623)

The "analysts" are, too. On top of that, phones are still a "platform" to deliver "an experience" ment only to please you insofar it lets the carrier "own" you. Thus the walled gardens. Thus the NFC push, with a secure element in your phone that isn't owned by you. It owns you, instead.

In that context, any and all extra sensors is more ways to spy on you. That is all.

What I'd like? As a phone, a device that lets me connect with the rest of the world. As a computing device something that lets me run my own code and have full control over every aspect of the hardware. Yes, down to the GSM stack, and it's possible. Combining, a device that shows me the available ways of communication and lets me take full advantage of every one in reach, any way I'd like. Enhanced by my own apps.

This is something quite different than the "seamless integrated experience" that apple does so well -- we already have that, thank you. Now for a raw power in my hands communication tool.

Plus, robust hardware that actually performs above and beyond "tickbox level" that fails to deliver when pushed (looking at you, "enterprise class" nokia phones). Good battery life. In that context, linux is and always be too heavy, simply because it contains too much code and never was designed for low-power use. You can get a long way, sure, but never quite as far as, say, psion got (before nokia fucked it up under the symbian moniker).

And then there's this: Privacy. Every single phone fails on this point in at least one way. Pity we'd need different protocols to really make it happen (ought to be part of 5G, so EU, if you're listening, make it a requirement for the subsidies you're tossing the phone industry for making 5G happen). Smartphones fail on this in more than one way, and there's really no way to fix that in the current models, so better models are needed. As well as more due dilligence. Too bad we'll only get a little fake bit of the latter, no more.

But for starters, I'll take a dual-sim (micro sim, no smaller) candybar no thicker than a centimetre, fits in trouser pocket, with a basic camera, 3.5mm jack, micro sd, wifi, voip, tethering, modem with working fax support (that really is but a SMOP, but occasionally oh so useful), basic packet data support, voice encryption, at least a week of stand-by, and cyanogenmod support or equivalent under some other OS. This obviously fits the models of exactly nobody who has any influence on what sort of phones will become available.

And so the notion of "innovation" among phones will remain rather vapid, as usual and by now entirely expected.

Air quality sensors? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43442719)

Soon your smartphone will be able to sniff every fart you cut loose.

Re:Air quality sensors? (1)

Skapare (16644) | about a year and a half ago | (#43442913)

... and provide it to all your contacts.

True innovation? (2)

rickb928 (945187) | about a year and a half ago | (#43442737)

Flexible screen.

Multiple screens that couple into one larger screen.

Laser keyboard.

Projector.

Dockable to make a useful notebook replacement.

Or a totally flexible phone that survives your back pocket. And doesn't trigger the humidity sensor.

Voice commands? How about I get a text from my wife, and I say "tell her I'm on my way" and the phone replies accurately. Of a call comes in and I say 'I'll call back later" and the call is answered with an appropriate voice response.

I'm never going to make these happen, so use these ideas and make a million. You're welcome.

Make it Generic, Please (5, Interesting)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | about a year and a half ago | (#43442783)

I want a generic revolution in smart phones. Android goes part way there, but not far enough.

I don't want anything to come from the carrier except packets and monthly bill. Like my ISP. Phone branding by the carrier should just go away. Spectrum should not belong to anyone. Carrier should just be licensed to use the National Allocated Spectrum by the FCC.

Phones should be modular. Want to upgrade the phone battery? Or radio? Add a keyboard? Not a problem. Root access should be expected, not something that has to be obtained by hacking.

ePaper screen (2)

symbolset (646467) | about a year and a half ago | (#43442857)

On the back [laptopmag.com] .

The feature I want is ... (1)

Skapare (16644) | about a year and a half ago | (#43442899)

... probably going to be rather hard to implement right now. But maybe it can happen in a decade or so when they figure out the "hardware" for this. I want seamless elasticity. That is, the phone should be able to stretch and shrink (not fold or slide parts) in either or both directions, and hold the size (e.g. NOT snap back like a rubber band). And of course it should notify apps what size the phone is now.

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