There is no doubt that smartphones are extraordinary devices. Over the years they have become pocket computers in which we carry a large part of our lives. However, you can always improve. Today in AndroidADN we will see the characteristics that Android smartphones should incorporate in 2013.
Android smartphones have been at the forefront of mobile technology in recent years. Major manufacturers have identified emerging trends and quickly detected the potential of new features to incorporate in their devices. However, competition is fierce, so that all firms are looking for something new to differentiate and have an advantage over the rest.
In the last couple of years, the developments were 4G LTE connectivity, 3D display, NFC and wireless charging. Now what features should incorporate Android smartphones in 2013?
Devices nowadays come with increasingly larger screens. In just a couple of years we have gone from 3.5 inch devices to current almost 5 inches, which has given rise to the word “phablet” (phone + tablet). The large panels are an obvious trend, but many people are reluctant to large devices because they say they are difficult to handle and will not fit in your pocket. However, the manufacturers seem to have an answer to that: flexible displays. Several firms, including Samsung, are already working on flexible displays, which would allow devices to bend to port them more easily.
This technology is still in development, but surely in 2013 we´ll begin to see the first devices with flexible displays. Apparently Samsung has taken the issue seriously and want this to be a differentiator for their products so that the future of this technology is promising.
Perhaps the most critical of today’s smartphones. The screens, processors, connectivity, designs and materials have evolved tremendously, and while batteries have improved, they have not done at the same speed as the rest of the elements, forcing virtually all users of a smartphone to have to charge their device almost daily.
Everyone wants larger screens and higher resolution, more power, more features and faster connectivity but all that consumes more and more battery. If this continues there will come a point where we will have a 4G device, Bluetooth, GPS, WiFi that will allow us to play the best games and play videos but whose battery does not last more than a few hours.
The wireless charging is a very practical novelty hopefully to extend in 2013. Also, if the airports, bars, restaurants and other public places incorporate wireless charging as a standard (that ever happen??), then it might be really useful, although this does not solve the underlying problem which is the short duration of the batteries of smartphones.
We’ve also seen devices with larger batteries, though generally impact the design. In relative terms, the batteries are still large when compared to other elements inside a smartphone. I think what is needed is smaller batteries with higher capacity but of course, it is easy to say but not so easy to do.
We have started to see new technologies with flexible batteries on the horizon, although still some to see it in a device. However, in the future this could go hand in hand with flexible displays that we talked about above. We could also see laptop batteries.
Anyway, in the next smartphones would like to see better battery without infringing the design, thinness and weight, offering greater durability.
When it comes to making and receiving phone calls, many manufacturers seem to have forgotten that a smartphone is, in the fisrt place a phone. Some smartphones usually have a poor signal strength and calls dropp too often. Nor is it strange that we can not surf the Web while performing a call unless we have a mobile and Wi-Fi.
With multiple antennas could increase the intensity of the signal and reduce the energy required. The device can also switch between antennas to get the best signal, which could be affected by the place where you are and how you’re holding the phone. The downside is that they occupy space and thus increase the overall size of the device, so you should consider the cost of larger size vs. benefit in connectivity and communication.
More resistant Phones
Beyond the specifications, design is a key point when choosing a smartphone. So, manufacturers invest significant time and money to make thin devices and offer attractive and stylish designs. However, another very important point is the strength or hardness of the devices. Usually, the phones are not cheap goods, so that no one would like to see their 400 or $ 500 device in pieces at the first fall.
While manufacturers try to use materials resistant to avoid that, most of the users use a case or cover for their devices. While generally these serve to protect the smartphone, usually the design and finish are damaged aspects, so that by 2013 I would like to see tougher Android smartphones without adding sleeves, covers or any other element that makes them more robust. The devices come with Gorilla Glass 2 and Kevlar with scratch resistance. Some are also waterproof, which would be good to add as standard especially for rainy days. Waterproof devices would be fine.
Who would not want to drop their phone in the puddles and stairs without suffering scratches or cracks? (or at least rest assured that if we drop nothing will happen) The trick is to add that extra layer of durability without adding too much bulk and cost.
Nowadays having WiFi in our devices is extremely important. Beyond that we have the data connection, for now the WiFi speed is far superior. When we are at home that is not a problem since we use the home connection, but problems arise when we are away from home. It is currently in development a new standard that promises to solve many of our problems. The standard WiFi 802.11ac allow much higher speeds for various devices in the home. Streaming HD video could be a reality and not have to worry about having a laptop, a smart TV, a PC and a smartphone all connected together. This technology is now available for smartphones and 2013 could be the year of the launch.
The 802.11ac standard is a proposed amendment to the IEEE 802.11 standard which is to improve transfer rates up to 1 Gbit per second within the 5 GHz band, expanding the bandwidth to 160 MHz (40 MHz in 802.11 networks n), up to 8 MIMO flows and high-density modulation (256 QAM), all of which would greatly improve the speed of WiFi connections.
Take advantage of Wi-Fi when you’re away from home would be a great thing, so the takeoff of PassPoint is eagerly awaited. This is a program that will provide public WiFi access points so customers can use them automatically. These connections will be present in bars, parks and other places and the idea is that we have WiFi automatically and securely connect us to wherever we are without having to get to find available connections, select a network and enter a password.
Others could also say it´ll be nice to see more coverage for 3G and 4G connections. I agree, but that would be a problem that would have to instruct the operators and not a drawback of the smartphones themselves.
What would you like to see?
Surely there are some other features you’d see on Android phones in 2013. This has been my choice but there are other aspects which also could be improved. What do you think? What features would you like to see next year? Leave me your thoughts in the comments!