Technology has always been progressing and one of the segments most affected by evolution is mobile telephony. Forty years after the first mobile phone was invented, with the purpose of keeping people connected with each-other in conditions where simple speech could not be of success, we are using this device a lot in our lives. Through the years, cellphones have developed into smartphones that manage to replace several day-to-day gadgets, such as digital cameras, watches, television, portable flash drives and even more.
Although progress is needed no matter what, I sometimes miss my old phone. Even in this advanced age, some good old features lack from conventional smartphones and in some occasions, this is enough to make me leave it home. In favor of cutting edge-technology, I’m afraid that simpler things were left behind.
Downsides of Intelligent Cellphones
Hoping that technology would evolve even more rapidly in order to adapt at least some of the following disadvantages, we’ll start analyzing a very simple question: why in a world where a smartphone can do so many for its owner, there is still a need for a classic, back-up phone?
Reduced battery life
Perhaps the most embarrassing aspect of my smartphone is the short battery life. On a regular basis, with medium-to low use, I barely get through a full day’s time. When I start playing, turn on the Wi-Fi and browse the web, it takes around 3-4 hours for the juice level to drop dangerously low. My battery is fully functional, has not been damaged through time and I even got it tested to be sure. The motive is actually simple: the more juice you need, the more you consume.
Unfortunately, batteries as units have not evolved so much in the past couple of years. To further aggravate our disappointment, manufacturers have failed to integrate bigger batteries inside newer cellphones (especially Apple) and so, we’ve end up with a big problem: increased demand, without technological bases. On the other hand, my proud Samsung GT-E1230 gets me through a full week without complaining about energy. Even when the phone let’s me know that it’s Saturday, and the battery is rather low, it still gets through another 24 hours until I remember to charge it.
Low Durability and high maintenance
Another big disadvantage is material strength and of course, durability. I am not afraid of carrying my legacy phone when I go skiing, to the beach, or for a ten-hour mountain-hike. There’s no way I could critically damage that phone, even though it’s a Samsung, and not a die-hard Nokia.
On the other camp, I’m sad to say that I broke my Samsung Nexus S screen three times: twice when playing pool by leaning on the table with the wrong pocket, and once on a snow sledge. This happened mostly because of the high amount of screen exposure (it has a 4-inch wide display) and of course, because I do not use any additional protecting cases. Even sadder is the fact that I had to pay around $400 to replace the display three times, which is approximately the same amount I paid on the darn thing in the first place.
This would not happen with a conventional phone. Its smaller display makes it less vulnerable against damaging factors and even though the panel is not fabricated with a high-end protective technology, such as Gorilla Glass 3, it feels way safer. When it comes to shocks, or high falls, the same thing applies. Seeing my old phone dropping from two meters would be a regular thing but if that happened with my smartphone, I would probably be scared, because I would have to pay a lot more to replace its broken parts.
I remember my team coordinator’s first day with a brand new smartphone, a quad-core from AllView, received as a gift (this happened two weeks ago I believe). Even though she’s only 27 years old and has around 13 people to guide through difficult tasks, that 4.5-inch wide black phone was nothing but a brick to her. She was so confused about Android, and how the phone can be guided through various tasks that she actually left it on the desk for around 2 days, until figuring out the mystery.
For some, Android is far too complicated and difficult to maneuver. That’s why simpler people tend to opt for iOS, where the operating system is a bit friendlier. But what happens to those that want a phone, but cannot handle either platform? Basically, they stay out of smartphones. I know a person or two, my aunt included, which although has a successful business underneath her wings, she still survives with a Nokia 5000. In addition, remember that all intelligent systems must be updated once in a while, and such simple tasks (for those who know a thing or two) will be seen as cliff edges by many.
Smartphones are getting bigger by the day, because they need to have plenty of room to accommodate at least a modest battery, lots of intelligent pieces and mainly, a big display. While the past trend has shown that product makers will not stop at the conventional 3.5-inch wide phone, by slowly crossing the slim barrier towards tablets with 6.3-inch mega beasts, I’d rather leave this fight for another occasion and argue about principles, more than trends.
First of all, that wonderful large display is helpful when the user checks for emails, plays some games, watches a video and any other kind of content consuming scheme I am yet aware of. When someone wants to speak with another, that large display becomes rather useless. The same thing applies when the smartphone is carried from one place, to another. Now imagine technology being so bold that a wonderful, big display will only appear when needed. That would be my thing.
In the end
As stated, there are still some major issues product makers have to deal in the following years. While technology evolves, I cannot wait until my smartphone can truly be carried through all environments, with a battery to survive at least a couple of days – of course, all of these without having repercussions on the form factor.