Dear manufacturers, stop doing these things

Dear manufacturers, stop doing these thingsIt can’t be easy being a mobile phone manufacturer in this day and age. Technology continues to evolve at an obscene rate, and we gadget-hungry beasts can be a fickle lot.

But hey, that doesn’t stop us thinking we know what’s best for everyone and judging manufacturers from the comfort of our respective chairs.

In this feature, I’m aiming to scribble a few mini-rants about things that currently really irk me about the hands that feed us handsets.

Wasting time on 3D

3D is rubbish. Who decided that people needed – or indeed wanted – 3D on their smartphones? It’s utterly pointless, makes phones fatter (more on this later, actually), and often leaves the user with a sore head.

In theory the very fact that the LG Optimus 3D and HTC Evo 3D exist makes no difference to me, in that I can simply ignore them, but manufacturers could be investing time and money in R&D for something else. I’m not entirely sure what, but hey – that’s why I’m a scribbler and not an inventor type guy.

Being obsessed with thinness

Manufacturers are stupidly obsessed with making the next “slimmest smartphone on the market”. But why? Did someone perform a secret study that shows consumers crave supermodel-thin smartphones?

Actually, that reminds me, there was a survey about the iPhone 5 recently. Let me go grab the results. Back in a mo…

Yep, here we go. A Pricegrabber survey asked consumers what they’d like to see from the new iPhone 5, and here are the top 5 results:

  • Improved battery life
  • Cost reduction
  • 4G compatibility
  • Larger screen
  • Improved camera

We’d gladly accommodate an extra millimetre or two if it meant improved battery life. Also, it’s almost worrying when a smartphone is too thin and light; give us some beef. Take note, manufacturers. Take note.

Same phone over and over

Sony Ericsson is the obvious example here. This year we’ve had the Sony Ericsson Xperia Play, Pro, Arc, Arc S, Neo, mini, mini pro, Ray, Active, and Live with Walkman. Have I forgotten some? Probably. All those phones and not a whiff of 3D or dual-core.

Conversely you’ve got LG, who’ve pumped out the world’s first dual-core smartphone, the world’s first autostereoscopic smartphone, and the world’s first 3D tablet. Clearly innovation isn’t necessarily a recipe for success, but at least they’re trying!

Pricing your tablet the same as the iPad

The iPad is the one tablet that everyone knows. Indeed, as far as some of the less technically learned people go, it’s the only tablet. A friend of mine once asked: “Didn’t Android release a version of the iPad?” He generally knows his stuff, but I guarantee he’d struggle to name as many as three tablets.

So, put yourself in a tablet manufacturer's shoes. You’ve got the iPad sitting at £400 for the 16GB Wi-Fi only model, and it’s utterly dominant in the tablet arena. The tech nerds reckon your tablet looks pretty good, and it’s had some good reviews, but Joe Public is another story. What price do you set for your tablet?

HP, Sony, Motorola, HTC, BlackBerry… not one of those companies undercut the iPad at launch. Am I missing something here?

Ok, rants over.

Read more about: HTC Evo 3DLG Optimus 3D

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Stelph  Sep. 7, 2011 at 13:23

Totally agree with manufacturers stopping price-matching the iPad and this crazy charge to make the thinnest device. Wish they would realise that the battery lives of smartphones is complete crap at the moment and that they should be focusing on making phones that last days, not hours.

Not so sure I agree with your points on 3D however, if anything I would say a mobile phone is the only device around where it makes sense to have 3D (that includes TV's with stupid glasses and tablets) mostly because it adds an interesting new feature to mobile gaming and also with the camera's and access to Youtube 3D it gives you a lot of options to be creative and upload what you make to youtube easily and also enjoy other peoples work. But I agree, large amounts of R&D shouldnt be spent on this, just enough to get rid of the bulbous bulge of cameras on the back and to produce a useful iMovie app equivalent for Android that works with 3D footage.

One point you did miss, I wish manufacturers would stop announcing phones quaters/months in advance of them being available. Take a hint from Apple and only announce when you are ready to take pre-orders or the phones are a month away from being ready. Theres nothing more annoying in the smartphone world than being shown an amazing phone that you cant get your hands on for the next 6 months..... grrrrr

mrew42  Sep. 7, 2011 at 13:31

My top requirements for a GOOD smart phone:
Better battery life.
A longer lasting battery
A longer period between charges
Improved power consumption
A bigger battery
Less frequent charging.
Oh last and by no means least, a less power hungry handset.
I think all the above combined would be just FANTASTIC!!!!!!!!!

mmbeak  Sep. 7, 2011 at 14:24

Agree with most of this article, especially with regard to 3D, which is a total fad that should really embrace no other media than film.
However, in terms of manufacturers rehashing the same ideas I would personally say that HTC are far and away the worst offenders.
I work in the mobile phone industry and it's got to the point where I'm not even bothering to show any interest in yet ANOTHER HTC handset!

MDrX  Sep. 7, 2011 at 14:52

I love that 20 minutes after this came a post about three new Blackberry phones. I admit I don't follow Blackberry devices at all but looking at the photos I could have sworn they were released last year. And the year before.

I'd like to add stupid names to the list. Even though it doesn't affect the phone at all.

HTC had stupid development names but they seemed to become the public-facing name. How did that happen? It's one thing for Jobs to describe something as magical, another for some ex-OEM to actually call their 27th generic device of the year the Sensation.
Galaxy? What's that? A car? Chocolate? That thing where all them stars live?
What happened to the 9210? The K800? Proper names for a happier time.

JanSt / MOD  Sep. 7, 2011 at 16:35

Mobot is so cool... :p No one noticed that Lewis bemoaned the trend towards ever thinner phones, while also bemoaning 3D for making phones phatter LOL You're all phired :p

blizzard7  Sep. 7, 2011 at 18:17

"Galaxy? What's that? A car? Chocolate? That thing where all them stars live? What happened to the 9210? The K800? Proper names for a happier time."

I kinda feel the opposite to that. I think just coming up with a bunch of numbers as a phone name is uninspired. Then when you get to things like TVs and cameras it sounds like some sort of joke. Then again, it is quite amusing to hear tech show presenters say "Today we're going to be testing the Sony HDR-PJ30VE and the HDRCX115EB". Snappy!

Of course, you had Nokia running out of numbers too. You had the Nokia 3110 and the Nokia 3110 classic for instance, and they didn't even bear any resemblance to each other.

Oddly enough, the iPhone and the iPad are the only numbered piece of hardware that Apple does. iPods were never numbered. I think HTC and Samsung had the right idea with naming related phones similarly e.g. Desire, Desire S, Desire Z and Galaxy S and Galaxy S II. At least it's a lot easier to know the phone's family tree that way.

matt101101 / MOD  Sep. 7, 2011 at 18:58

^ I agree, whole heartedly.

shadders139  Sep. 8, 2011 at 01:00

JanST, i agree with the moaning about 3d making phones fat, and then the VERY NEXT segment is about phones being too thin. plus there's moaning about 3d phones- and then moaning about no phones bothering to do anything different and all being the same. make your mind up!

matt101101 / MOD  Sep. 8, 2011 at 01:12

Shadders139, I think Jan was joking...just a bit ;). He likes bullying Lewis haha :D. I think lewis was trying to say that 3D is different but in a pointless bad way. It adds bulk but still with crap battery life and Sony make way to many boring phones and despite 3D being different it's pointless so companies should make themselves different in a different way...if that makes sense... :p.

shadders139  Sep. 8, 2011 at 02:17

tbh i disagree with most of the points made in the article. i disagree on the 3d aspect, and whereas a lot of people may not want a 3d phone, there's still a large market of people who will happily buy one- i myself have the htc evo 3d and love the 3d function. also on the slimness issue, to quote "But why? Did someone perform a secret study that shows consumers crave supermodel-thin smartphones?" erm yes i would say that technology manufacturers have indeed surveyed what consumers want, and a lot of people DO want the slimmest phones- a lot of people think slimmer the better, and it certainly helps with looks. and on the same phone over and over- it's because, well how much can you really change a smartphone nowadays, other than increasing power? they do everything and more, and when they do try and branch out with new innovative features (such as 3d) there are so many people who just go "what's the point of that? why do i need that on a mobile phone?"

JanSt / MOD  Sep. 8, 2011 at 09:11

I was kind of joking...

Lewis obviously meant "more bulk with zero gain" - in terms of performance factors such as battery etc...

But you're right also - no one needs to buy a 3D device, no one needs to buy a SE Play etc...

Problem is, sometimes things become "normal" while a significant number of folks don't need it.
5 years ago people told me, stop b*tching about GPS, buy a phone without it. Well, try buying a gps-free smartphone now.
For g*dsake, if you need gps in Ireland you're truly lost :p

Same will happen with NFC, and Lewis is afraid 3D will be next...

shadders139  Sep. 8, 2011 at 14:03

hmm i see your point, although i'd argue that nothing 'bad' has ever become a standard smartphones, because they need to be something quite useful for it to become the norm on all phones. i mean, GPS is useful for so much more than just navigation- it's utilised in ingenious ways by a lot of apps i.e. google sky maps, location based searching etc. etc. But yes, from the clarification in your and Matt101101's post i understand the author's point better. all in all i just think the more features they can fit onto a phone the better, even if i can't immediately think of a use for a certain feature- an app/service will certainly put it to good use in the future. but i am able to agree to disagree on this matter :)


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