I’ve seen the initiative for a built-to-order Androphone like the Synapse Phone (pictured above). It’s interesting but too bad the Synapse Phone initiative seems dead or at least inactive right now (they were expected to start shipping in Q1 this year but now it’s Q2 already, still no news about it and their main website is down at the time of writing. Alternate website here).
If it’s me I’d like these specs for my ultimate smartphone:
It has to be either Android 2.3+ or MeeGo (or even dual-boot to those) because of their open ecosystem. For Android I want it to be the plain stock version (no customization by the phone maker) and rooted too. If it’s MeeGo I want it to have access to both Nokia and Intel app stores instead of just one of them.
1Ghz would do. Dual-core CPU may be better but for me they’re a little overkill. Let multi-core CPU be exclusive for tablets for now.
Just like dual-core CPU, a 4.0-inch SuperAMOLED capacitive touchscreen with 480×800 WVGA resolution is also a little overkill to me. I’d prefer say, a 3.5-inch, which is not too bulky like 4.0-inch and not too small like 3.2-inch. For resolution a 2:3 aspect ratio would do, with resolution not exceeding 720×480. I’d rather get a tablet if it has to be bigger. An oleophobic Gorilla glass display would be a welcomed bonus too.
Wide stereo with micro subwoofer and virtual surround. I love to treat my phone as though it’s a miniature boombox.
Ambient light sensor:
To adjust the screen brightness automatically.
If it’s not for making the UI/apps orientation auto-rotate.
Compass & GPS+ AGPS:
Helps finding the way.
It has to be the combo of these PHYSICAL buttons!: 2 programmable menu softkeys, answer key, end call key and a 4-way navpad (a.k.a. D-pad, ‘D’ for directional). I don’t accept capacitive keys because I need the tactile feedback to make me feel that I’ve actually pressed a key (and that feeling of a keypress is registered to the system). Besides I can ‘rest’ my fingers on those keys without actually activating it, as opposed to a capacitive key where every touch is treated as a keypress. And D-pad is also crucial for gaming. I prefer 4-way D-pad over the more common 5-way because it’s more gaming friendly and we won’t make mistake of wrongly pressed the OK button in the center.
Dedicated camera and music button:
I hate to navigate through the icons and menus just to activate these functions so it would be very helpful to have physical shortcut keys for them. After all these are the most used instant functions on any smartphone.
I seldom use this as it’s only useful to me in certain seasons but having it would not hurt and I think for a device with music playback ability, it would be pointless without FM-tuner.
Camera with flash:
For me a 5.0MP AF camera with at least dual-flash LED would do for a smartphone (anything more would be overkill). LED flash can be used as a better flashlight than xenon flash because xenon flash would be too bright, almost blinding when looking for something in the dark.
External, hot-swappable microSD memory card with support to at least 32GB. Yes it has to be external because I hate to have to open the chassis just to remove the card.
Should be at least 2GB available, no less. I mean there are just too many apps need to stay in the phone memory instead of microSD card. Although making apps transferable to microSD card is relatively easy sometimes an app running from a microSD card may cause the system to go haywire.
This has to be available for transferring stuff directly from/to the PC. And it needs to double as a charging port too. A separate charging port is a redundancy.
Bluetooth is for data exchange between devices as well as for car kits/earphone. Mobile hotspot should be made available too.
User changeable battery:
Everybody knows battery is always be the first part to face a failure in any device. Besides not everybody has the chance to get near a power socket while traveling. And yeah I do travel a lot and often lasts for a couple of days without electricity. That’s the situation where a spare battery would come in handy instead of having another phone.
I’d love to have 2 different telco plans in one phone. For instance I may use a prepaid plan for calls and a postpaid plan for data. Having them in one phone would make me drop the need to get a secondary phone. For me a smartphone is not smart enough if it only support 1 SIM card.
3G/3.5G + Tethering:
Having 3G capabilities without tethering would be pointless.
I consider this as the most important feature. I don’t want to be bound to a commitment that would resulting me being penalized should I breached the contract.
Features I don’t need:
I don’t do video call, and I don’t see the need to do so.
I’m not that stupid to store HDMI contents in my phone. I have a dedicated external HDD for that.
“Glassless” 3D display:
3D display that doesn’t need a 3D eyeglasses is a cool tech but I use smartphone for apps and not just contents so having it would be totally pointless.
Biometric fingerprint scanner:
I heard some phone makers are considering this. I know it’s good for added security but in most cases, AFAIK a lost phone is a lost phone and most criminals don’t really mind what’s inside the phone unless they’re really after the phone for that purpose. It’s not that I’m saying it’s useless but I don’t keep much personal stuff in my phone, and even the phonebook also contain only names and numbers but no pictures, not even addresses.
This is also useful for added security but as I’ve stated before I am not an important person that people would want to use the data in my phone to kill my reputation. Ain’t got money anyways if that’s what they’re after.
Features worth considering:
Sliding QWERTY keypad:
Heavy texting is always better with physical keypad, though having them would make the phone bulkier.
Dedicated numeric keypad:
Still a better substitute for QWERTY keypad, and dialing on a physical keypad is considerably faster than touchscreen UI.
Dedicated gaming buttons:
Having extra buttons for gaming would be nice too, if the games support them.
They’re just around the corner and WiMAX has been around here for a couple of years already.
While this has a tradeoff for a unibody design, it was fun to change the chassis with different colors/patterns/prints.
How about you?