Smartphones Combine Many Gadgets
Smarter Smartphones replace all electronic gadgets? If your mobile phone offered the same user experience you get from other electronic gadgets, would you go totally mobile?
I raised the same issue in another MobileBeyond piece called: “The Age of Mobility: Netbooks and Mobile Devices.”
In the quest for the ultimate “smart smartphone PDA,” handset manufacturers, mobile carriers, smartphone software programmers, mobile application developers and others would love to differentiate their handsets, apps and services by offering as many Swiss Army Knife mobile phones as possible.
Whether consumers, except for mobile geeks, would buy super-functional phones, however, is questionable. Considering the increasing smartphone cost-of-ownership ($2,700 minimum for an iPhone without apps and accessories), most consumers purchase cheaper handsets or those that excel in one or two areas (email, music playback, photography, texting, etc.)
SmartPhone Operating Systems
In today’s San Jose Mercury News Technology section, Troy Wolverton, writing about the not-yet-released Motorola Cliq smartphone, makes an interesting comment about mobile phones and communication. “[The Cliq]…is built around the idea that smart-phones are…communications devices…what makes a smart-phone so powerful is its ability to easily connect users to different communications services at the same time.”
Wolverton is writing about multi-tasking and integrated voice and data communications–the ability of a smartphone mobile phone user to simultaneously manage phone calls, emails, instant messages and social media updates on Twitter or FaceBook.
True, this includes uploading photos to Flickr or other sites but may not include video editing and more sophisticated functions better handled on a computer or other device.
The iPhone, My Touch 3G and Palm Pre
Next to Wolverton’s piece is a column summarizing the “the good” and “the bad” of the iPhone, My Touch 3G and the Palm Pre. It’s interesting to note the reviewer’s “bad” comments:
- iPhone – Call quality, lack of flash, USB transfer, storage and multi-tasking My Touch 3G – No 3.5mm jack, a file manager, uneven video quality, poor browser, virtual keyboard and syncing
- Palm Pre – Cramped keyboard, battery drain, sluggish operation, no expansion memory slot, video recording, virtual keyboard, flash and too few apps.
And these are three of the top smartphones on the market! Would you buy a digital camera with uneven video quality or lack of storage? How about a computer with a poor keyboard? Or a laptop with a battery that drained faster than an RV’s gas tank? How about a PC or Mac browser without flash? You get the point.
As more features are added to smartphones, batteries drain faster, applications run slower, despite faster processors and voice and data network performance worsens. While multi-tasking OS’ on newer mobile phones help, the demands on a mobile handset’s processor, video, battery and other components continually increase.
Thoughts from Larry Magid
In the same San Jose Mercury News section, Larry Magid writes in a similar vein: “For many devices, we’re opting for convenience and portability while sacrificing quality.”
How we listen to music, in particular, is an issue, according to Magid. iPods and digital music players on mobile phones, which compress the dynamic range of music, are not a substitute for high quality audio systems and headphones.
Magid yearns for the days of analog LP’s (that’s long-playing records) and cassettes for audio transfer vs. today’s totally digital audio on CD’s and DVD’s. For his CBS radio shows, moreover, Magid still uses a land line instead of a cell phone for better quality.