Everyone I know, including myself, has a serious beef (or two) with their current favorite smartphone. Whether it's the hardware, the software, or the design of the handset -- there are plenty of reasons to make us want to chuck that device across a room.
With that in mind, I decided to spec out my dream smartphone. It probably never will exist, but it should!
This is the single most important (and probably impossible) aspect of my ideal smartphone. Here's the deal. There are times when I want a full-fledged smartphone. There are also times when I just want a crappy old throwback to the ‘90s cell phone. Why? Sometimes I need to have as little with me as possible (and don't want to risk damaging a smartphone screen) or need to make a call at the speed of a flip phone. That's not always possible with a smartphone -- at least not mine.
So, what I want is a sort of dual-purpose, dockable basic cell phone that can slide in and out of the smartphone chassis. The removable cell phone would actually supply the smartphone with the cellular functionality. When the cell phone is removed from the smartphone dock, the smartphone would not function. The challenge for this, obviously, is the screen. The removable cell phone could not dictate the size of the smartphone screen. Instead, the removable cell could serve as the backside of the smartphone.
As to the actual size of the smartphone? That's another concern. How big is too big, and how small is too small? Well, since this is my dream phone, I'm going to be greedy and go for big. And since this handset will have a removable cell phone, we don't have to worry about comfort for longer calls. So, for my ideal mobile handset, I'm going with the dimensions: 7" x 4".
Outside of screen real estate, this size would accommodate a better set of external speakers. Nearly every smartphone today offers great features, only to be belittled by speakers that make your callers sound like they're speaking through a tin can.
Here are some of the other specs:
- Processor: Dual core, minimum 1 Ghz processor
- RAM: 1 GB minimum
- Storage: 32 GB internal with external/removable SD card storage (so the battery doesn't have to be removed to replace the external storage)
- Camera: Front and back facing cameras
- Network: Wi-Fi and 4G (or whatever "G" is the latest)
Here's where things get interesting, outside of the Go-Go Gadget removable cell phone. I want to overlook the current smartphone platform offerings and head straight for my own personal favorite -- Bohdi Linux. That's right, I believe Ubuntu and Enlightenment E17 is the perfect combination for both smartphone and tablet devices. The interface would only need a few tweaks to work wonders on a smartphone. The only stumbling block, as of now, is the ability to place phone calls. This, of course, could easily be worked into the core of the operating system.
Outside of the OS, I would like to see the following apps ported for the device:
- Gwibber: For social network interaction
- Chrome: For speedy browsing
- Thunar: File browsing
- Banshee: Music listening and purchasing (from Amazon or UbuntuOne)
- Ubuntu Software Center: For download/installing of apps
- Claws Mail: Fast, highly configurable email
- Cheese: For video teleconferencing
Root access is also must. The vast majority of users wouldn't take advantage of it, but those of us who would, we could have our own portable servers running on our mobiles... and more!
This is a tricky one, because very few carriers would be willing to carry such a device. First and foremost, due to the cost. This type of handset isn't going to be cheap. The removable phone alone would jack up the price too much for most carriers to even touch. Beyond that, I would want to avoid any carrier unwilling to allow tethering or who insists on limiting data speeds or size. Since the ideal carrier doesn't exist, I'd have to go with Verizon, since their 4G is currently the best.
Of course, this is all fictitious -- but the moment this handset is created, I will have one. What about you? If you could detail your dream mobile device, what would it look like? What would it run? Would it even be possible? Dream on MacDuff, and show us what your imagination is made of.
Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website getjackd.net.