Julie’s gadget diary – What features would your dream phone have?

{ 10 comments }

gadget-diary
I received an email from Verizon telling me that the New Moto X smartphone and Moto Maker rolled out today. If you’re not familiar with Moto Maker, it’s a special customization service for the Moto X Android smartphone. You use it to choose from a thousand combinations for the back, front and trim colors of the Moto X. Actually it’s not just colors that you can change. You can even have a leather or wood back cover, making the phone very personally yours. So that got me thinking… what would my dream phone look like and what features would it have that phones these days do not already have? 

After some thought, this is the feature set for my dream phone:

  • Same physical size as my LG G3. This is a better size for me than larger phablets like my previous phone, the Samsung Galaxy Note 2.
  • Speaking of the Note 2, I’d want my dream phone to have a stylus like the Note 2. I don’t use a stylus very often, but when I want to use one, I want it to be as precise as that one.
  • 5.5 inch display that looks as good indoors as outdoors. I’ve yet to find a phone with a screen that you can read in direct sunlight. While we’re at it, let’s make it a transforming display that goes from color to e-ink when you want to read a book and not use a lot of battery life.
  • The phone must have Qi wireless charging, NFC and an FM radio that doesn’t require you to use your headphones as the antenna.
  • Some type of very long range Bluetooth so that I can leave the phone on my desk and then go 100’s of feet away while still being able to receive texts and calls on a watch or smaller pocket device.
  • A dedicated physical shutter button for the camera because I hate tapping the screen to take a picture and seem to always have my phone in the wrong orientation to use a volume button. Volume buttons as shutter buttons can also be awkwardly placed like the on LG G3. If you want to take a picture in landscape mode, it seems odd to reach around the back of the phone to snap the picture.
  • A battery that lasts for 24hrs of heavy use and some sort of solar cell in the display that can trickle charge the phone’s batteries with ambient light. That tech is already in devices like the Logitech Solar Wireless Keyboard that we reviewed almost 4 years ago..
  • 128GB of memory and a microSD card slot for even more storage.
  • A tiny LCD screen on the bezel that always shows the time of day and tiny icons for missed calls or messages without pressing any buttons. I don’t know about you, but the notification LED for Android isn’t very good… especially on my LG G3. It blinks so slow that I rarely ever notice it.
  • Android OS. Sorry Apple but iOS just doesn’t do it for me anymore.
  • Won’t bend if I put it in my back pocket – just kidding 😉 ok, not really kidding.

I tried not to get too out there with crazy features like a 3 inch device that transforms into a 10 inch device. Actually most of the features I’ve mentioned could be added to phones right now. The only ones that are futuristic are the very long range Bluetooth and a battery that can last for a full 24hrs of heavy use.

What am I missing? What features would your dream phone have?

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{ 10 comments… add one }
  • David September 26, 2014, 4:38 pm

    Everyone seems to be moving to more and bigger. I want to go in the other direction.
    I would like a waterproof watch (that is watch size) that has cellular, broadband, bluetooth and wifi with tethering. It would need voice control, mic and speaker, be able to make and receive calls and texts, provide broadband to attached devices and tell time. This way you could be minimal with just the watch and use a headset if you prefer. Everything else (handheld GPS, tablets, cameras and other gadgets) would be linked as needed.

    • Julie Strietelmeier September 26, 2014, 4:46 pm

      @David that is a really good idea. I don’t like wearing a watch on my wrist, but I’d go for a pocket watch sized device that could do all those things. I’d want a headset though for calls as I would be self-conscience talking to my wrist or pocket watch. To add to your idea, I’d want a bunch of health related sensors in it for counting steps, stairs, heart rate, blood glucose, sleep, etc.

  • Andrew Baker September 26, 2014, 4:44 pm

    Sounds good. I’ll take one too

  • Sandee Cohen September 26, 2014, 5:14 pm

    I would be thrilled if I could tap my fitbit and see some combination of lights and tell the time.

  • Janet Cloninger September 26, 2014, 5:48 pm

    I want cellphone functions added to my iPad mini with Retina display. My mini is perfect for me, and it’s small enough that I can toss it into most bags. I’d need a Bluetooth headset or just the Bluetooth speakerphone functions on my Martian Watches G2G (though I’d prefer a headset so that people wouldn’t hear both sides of my conversations), because the mini is too big to hold up to the ear for phone conversations. It would be the only thing I’d need. I find myself hoping that the iPhone 6 Plus will work as my travel tablet so I could reserve my mini for home use, if I ever receive my backordered iPhone 6 Plus. (And yes, I am bitter at having to wait!)

  • aphoid September 26, 2014, 9:15 pm

    One feature you’re missing: nominal water resistance. I don’t need something to take swimming, but it should survive use in a heavy rain or brief dunkings in a puddle or sink and come out unharmed.

    For me, I don’t see much difference in 12 hour battery life and 24. The useful distinction to me comes when it gets to about 48-72 hours, which would allow you to forget the charger when you go out of town for a weekend.

    I have small hands and prefer a smaller phone. Something the size of the iPhone 5 is about the upper limit of what I’d like.

    Solar cells in a phone just wouldn’t be that useful. keyboards only use bluetooth or short range proprietary radios, don’t do processing when you’re not typing, and have no need to connect to a cell tower a few miles away. Besides, doesn’t the phone spend most of its time in your pocket or a bag, whereas a keyboard is exposed to light whenever there’s light in the office.

    Solar flux per square meter is something like 1000 W. If your cell phone was 10cm^2 (which is between the iPhone 6 and 6+ in size), with perfect alignment to the noon sun and 100% efficient panel, you’d get about 10 watts. Under indoor lighting, with realistic panel efficiencies (15% is good), and imperfect alignments you’d only get a small fraction of that power. Seems like it would be better to just replace the weight of the solar cell with a bigger battery to start with.

    Oh, and Janet, after upgrading most of our iDevices to iOS 8, our iPads have started “ringing” when we’ve received phone calls….

  • Hildy J September 26, 2014, 10:23 pm

    A switchable display might be a bit complicated but I’d settle for Yotaphone’s idea of an LCD display on the front and an e-Ink display on the back. The e-Ink display could also be used for notifications.

    One thing I would like to see added is an external temperature sensor. It would be even neater if the phone was waterproof and I could use it to measure a liquid’s temperature.

  • Ronald Gordon September 27, 2014, 6:51 pm

    My 1st Gen. Moto X died after eight months, and they couldn’t find a replacement, so now I have a Samsung G4. I prefer the smaller size and feel of the Moto X, but I’d want it with the G4’s screen quality and a user-replaceable battery. A Kindle app that switches the screen to PaperWhite would be sweet. I’d want the case swathed in baseball-glove leather and brushed aluminum. I’d want a full-size digital camera sensor and a Canon or Leica formula lens. Android OS, of course. 64GB internal storage, plus an SSD slot. The ability to truly remove unwanted apps. Water resistant. Innards user-updatable to protect initial investment in chassis and power supply. Unlocks my car and streams to my mobile audio system. Moto X-style notifications (I hate flashing LEDs). Micro-USB exports pure digital to an outboard D-to-A converter for better-than-CD-quality music playback. Turns into a warm, purring kitten at night. Makes a delicious grilled cheese sandwich.

  • Robert van Weersch September 29, 2014, 3:19 am

    My top 3:
    1. Battery life
    2. Battery life
    3. Battery life
    Smartphones nowadays sport features which I, to be honest, don’t actually need. I don’t need biometric sensors. I don’t need the CPU power for real-time ray-tracing. I don’t need a ginormous desktop real estate. And I don’t need a gazillion Mpix camera. I just want a phone to email, surf, do some IM, listen to music and occasionally navigate. O yeah, and it should be able to make old fashioned calls. To put it simple: productivity. And all of those things without the need to recharge it every 12 hours or haul a portable power plant.

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