By Joe Levi | May 10, 2013 10:51 AM
Smartphones, like it or not, are disposable goods. We buy them, we use them, we abuse them, then we toss them away when they no longer serve our purposes. The reasons for getting rid of or replacing our smartphones are many, but what would it take for manufacturers to “wow” us with a super long lasting smartphone?
What is a “Long Lasting Smartphone”?
Before we get too far into the question, what exactly is the question? What do we mean by a “super long lasting smartphone”? Does it mean the same thing to you as it does to me? Let’s break down the various components of what an ideal “long lasting smartphone” could mean.
Pocketnow’s Stephen Schenck wants his “long lasting smartphone” to offer “cutting-edge performance along with power savings”.
“Why doesn’t someone just ditch any pretense of making a more powerful phone and do one that focuses solely on power-saving factors? What kind of battery life could we really see if every decision is about power savings?”
New processors are being developed all the time. Each promises faster speeds that are more power-efficient. Chip makers throw around numbers like “30% more efficient” or “half the power requirement” when compared to their previous generation. Extrapolating from the marketing hype, end users like you and I expect a chip that advertises to use “half the power” to make our smartphones last twice as long. But it doesn’t.
Back to Stephen’s thought — no, let’s call it “Stephen’s Challenge”: What kind of battery life could we see if every decision, every component, every configuration considers battery life first, and performance after?
Motorola has been adding “MAXX” versions to their line-up for some time now. They’re essentially the same phone as the “slim and sexy” models that the mainstream seems to go for, but instead of the “mainstream” anorexic battery, they throw in something substantial. Sure, it adds thickness and weight. It also adds run-time, sometimes spanning multiple days. This is what we want.
Another way to look at a “super long lasting smartphone” is in future-proofing. Of course there’s only so much that can be done to make our devices “future-proof”. Come to think of it, that’s the wrong term — let’s call it “future-resistant”.
Devices today are either top-of-the line, somewhere in the middle, or “budget phones” that are typically out-of-date by the time you make your first phone call. Apple doesn’t do that and I’m giving them high praise for it. Apple, unlike devices powered by Android and Windows Phone, releases a flagship device. It’s got the latest specs and great hardware built in. But what about their “middle tier” and “budget” lines? Those are the previous generation of flagship phone, and the one before. It’s brilliant.
By focusing on the latest-and-greatest, Apple has been able to successfully extend the usable life of their devices. I don’t know about you, but to me this solidifies my perception of their brand, and makes me think their devices are better built for the long-haul. Whether that’s true or not doesn’t matter. To the masses, perception is reality.
Google, this one is aimed directly at you.
We need accessories for our devices. Apple has limited the number of models of their devices which has attracted a huge after-market accessories industry to build up around them. Do you know how long it took to get the Nexus wireless charging orb? Even the “bumper” was very late coming to market. There’s no excuse for this. Either standardize on a device like Apple has to encourage 3rd party accessories, or release the full set of accessories with the device.
Another way to look at a “super long lasting smartphone” is to take a look at history. Motorola and Nokia developed what I would consider “iconic” handsets. They were everywhere.
These phones were tough. They could be thrown around, used, and abused — and still perform flawlessly. I go through smartphones four times more quickly today than I did back then. Part of that is because technology is moving much more quickly today, but part is because today’s devices are much more fragile than they were before. It’s time to end this trend. It’s time to make phones that last again. Nokia and Motorola, you did it before, will you be the companies to do it again?
It’s time to wow us with a super long lasting smartphone. We’re waiting.
Now it’s time for you, our reader, to jump in. Let’s use this article as an open letter to the smartphone OEMs. What’s on your list? What are you looking for in a super long lasting smartphone? Head to the comments and let us (and them) know!
Image Credit: (cc) ignat.gorazd