Mobility

Create a smartphone that dreams are made of

Jack Wallen specs out what his dream smartphone would look like. Detail your own dream mobile device in the discussion thread.

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!

Hardware

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)

Software

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!

Carrier

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.

About

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.

12 comments
delf20k
delf20k

A collection of Bluetooth linked devices with a flip phone with a large battery at its heart an extendable 5 to 7 inch flexible display with telescopic hard backing for internet stuff and apps and a separate but Bluetooth connected 12Mp camera that displays on the screen and sends through the phone. the phone part to have full coms and also function as a full multi-band LTE/H modem with the screen section dual booting android/win phone X.X and running any java app as well and be able to be shut down or put in standby separately to save power. It should also have an optional satellite phone attachment.

AudeKhatru
AudeKhatru

I don't want a phone, I want a convergence of devices. I want a 7" screen tablet which will fit in my pocket when I need it. I'm a bit guy, so something that big would fit in my pocket. I also want a phone that would be similar to the simple phone described in the article. It might still be a smartphone, but it could be as small as a 3" screen. I describe both by the screen, because that is really the only factor that matters...as long as they don't make too large a bezel. But, here is the truly key part. They are two pieces of hardware, but they share one number and one data plan. I want them to talk to each other, but I don't think I want them to dock. It they are in range, then each will know what the other knows, if you will. I cannot really use both at the same time, so I don't need two phone numbers or two data plans. The two devices should sense each other and connect and communicate seamlessly. I could do most of this with a tablet and phone with WiFi tethering, but not all. It would be a step in the right direction though.. Of course, this all goes along with the desktop dock concept I have. You have a desktop setup at home, with a keyboard, mouse and monitor, where you plug in the phone and the tablet for charging, but they become a single system. The tablet screen becomes a second screen beside the monitor and it acts similar to a desktop system. I am not sure what it would run as an OS, but it would basically be one OS with three UIs, each optimized for the screen size and usage, phone, tablet and desktop. I don't know if this is where they are heading, but Microsoft could do this, and come out way ahead of the pack.

tshindler
tshindler

Echoing other comments: I would like a smart, multi-function device with wi-fi, bluetooth, easily removable SD storage, and USB connectivity, etc that DOESN'T REQUIRE A DATA PLAN!! I'd like it to have a reasonable camera and voice recorder (good enough to dictate to Dragon to transcribe it for me). I'd like it to hold and play lots of MP3s (without requiring i-tunes, zune, or other gate-keeper), A radio would be nice too. It would be nice if it could run all the i-OS and Android apps. (I know i-OS is impossible, so Android then...) I'd like it to be small, and cheap enough that if I loose or destroy it, I can take the loss and buy a new one. I'd like it to be able to synch with my PCs at work and home. An internal GPS would be great, but not necessary. If it had it, I would like the ability to up and download tracks and waypoints, and download basemaps that don't require web access. All of these functions exist in affordable devices, just not combined into a single one.

stephen.edie
stephen.edie

My dream phone is more of a realistic carrier. Not one carrier currently lets the user have a smart phone on a cellular plan only. Almost all smart phones can get data via BT or WiFi, yet the carriers won't let you do this... even if you already own the phone... even if the phone is branded that carrier. Seems to be the biggest racket. Now there is a work around by spoofing a standard phone on a smart phone, but why should we be forced to lie? I'm paying to make and recieve calls and own a Smart-phone, get most of my data via wifi because its just faster. They don't have a problem with me using WiFi, but only because they are getting paid regardless. I have a data plan!

raymond.langley
raymond.langley

One that worked no matter where on the planet I was and I didn't get massive rooming rates. One where I could download any app for any OS and it would work. One where I could talk surf the net, download and Update all at the same time.

mckinnej
mckinnej

My dream phone would allow me to make and take phone calls. The only thing "smart" about it would be it's ability to carry out that primary function and not screw it up. My casual observations indicate that most smart phones are a waste of money. I've watched my kids, co-workers, and various friends jump on the bandwagon and other than a few dedicated folks, they all pretty much use them for phone calls and text messages after a few months. Some have downloaded games they play. Wow. Impressive. How much are you paying for that again? Not all their fault though. The cell companies are making it very hard to find a basic phone these days. I got a new phone recently and I had to get an employee to show me the back corner where they hid the phones that don't require a data plan. What a racket.

sbujan
sbujan

I'm still in loved with my N900 and there is no real successor, so I'm dreaming one. First, take borrowed the camera from the N8 and its flash. Then crack open a Droid 3 and take the SoC. The best of dreaming a new N900 for me is that I would always maintain the keyboard and the OS. As for the ones willing to run Android there will always be NITdorid. It could look a cheap dream for many, but it would be a great tool for the everyday sysadmin. techie regards, -- me

fitzpat_e
fitzpat_e

Folks, I setting the bar higher...it IS a dream so my smartphone would read my mind and act accordingly. Why not....

JCRX
JCRX

* Listen to my heart and know who I am by BIO print. * Would heartbeat to its smart ISP and use its handshake to soft alert that is was or was not on the grid based on standards of use * Honest to goodness My-Privacy Mode * Would echo to BlueCross Blue Shield if it noticed something strange, call 911 too if so needed * Exist in my special (Personal) Sensa-Net that knows My House, My Car and other Sensa-Net Enabled parents, siblings and children

talalhaj
talalhaj

Since it' a dream so why not: Prossesor: Corei7 2670 or equal (lastes Intel CPU). GPU: Nvidia GTX 580 (Latest nvidia card). Ram: 8 GB Storage: 128 GB SSD with 64 GB card Camera: 16 MP Back with Flash and 18x optical 5 MP Front Connectivity: Wifi abgn, 4 (5,6,...) G, Bluetooth 4 (5,6,7,...) OS: Windows 7 Ultimate (8 if it's as good) (latest PC OS) Screen: 7" Full HD (1920*1080) Super ultra extra mega AMOLED LCD TFT 3D (whatever letters out there). Weight: 200 G Max.

fergusfog
fergusfog

With respect mckinnej, you sound old. :-) I agree with what you say, and it is a racket - it always is with technology. But I couldn't do without the location-based vouchers, mapping, finding interesting stuff, looking up info on where I am/what I'm looking at, email, calendar, games to amuse my young daughter, productivity tools (lists primarily)... the list goes on. I've always wanted an encyclopedia in my pocket, and that's what it gives me. My Nokia 6110 didn't do that, although it made calls just perfectly well.

grayknight
grayknight

I like these hardware specs. Also add that battery life is 12 hours of video playback and 400 hours standby.

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