Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Best smartphone design for the 2020s

Getting tired of those smartphones that never live up to your expectations. I'm with you. That is why I've taken it upon myself to design my own smartphone..In fact I'm ready to do into production. The first step is to recognise where the competitors get it right; then to twig them where they screw up. So here is my list of my core needs:
1. Android 4.1 - Its a great OS - well done Google
2. GPS - this is a great feature - I love recording place locations, though I wish there was better software for managing locations; not just contacts. This is where software developers are failing us. Geospatial data is the next Facebook...just giving you applications developers a heads-up. I love having a Garmin in my phone...saves me $200 and I travel light.
3. Wifi - A standard feature but noteworthy because its so important.
4. QWERTY keyboard - At the risk of being perceived as stuck in the past; I just can't type as fast with the other digital options. The problem is that existing QWERTY options just don't live up to their promise. Blackberry is big on QWERTY but it has a small screen and no Android option.
5. Just basically everything the Samsung Galaxy III has because it basically does everything.

I am really looking to enter into a joint venture with Samsung on this because they are the closest to what I want. The Samsung Galaxy III is a great phone....so let me just add my problems that my JV with Samsung will resolve. Here are the issues - actually there is just one issue.
1. No keyboard. Now there is a good reason probably, but let me suggest a solution. A QWERTY keyboards on a smartphone result in a shrunken screen size. Now, some phone like Motorola's and Sony-Ericson's Xperia Lite place a slide-out QWERTY keyboard. I don't like these because they have a distorting impact on their balance or weight distribution, and they are too crowding on the thumbs used to type. The impact is that you can't type in any position, and not quickly. Currently I am stuck using old Nokia software and its underpowered phone to get the battery life and keyboard combination I like. I often type when I'm lying down, so  slide-outs fail. Some of them also obstruct keys with the slide-attachment. The solution is to have a fixed landscape mode with an extended (longer) keyboard; much like a game controller. The Samsung Galaxy S III would be a perfect size for such a keyboard, since it would not crowd my thumbs, and a half-landscape screen would allow me to read books, type notes, edit files, even if there is restricted depth to the screen. Its not the same as a laptop, but that's ok, its not a laptop. Most importantly I want to be able to type quickly. The bigger 4.8 inch screen should at least give me reasonable depth to my landscape  screen.
2. Under development...commercial in confidence.

I'll let you know when Samsung comes back to me with terms. Basically, we will be looking at calling it the Shelsung (Sheldon-Samsung) Sheldon-lite after its designer; with some recognition of Samsung's good taste. Because its such a good phone, we will happily pay $1200 for it, and it will last 5 years because it will preserve its functionality thanks to Google's software interface.

------------------------------------ Andrew Sheldon www.sheldonthinks.com
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