Wednesday, February 26, 2014

We don't need a smarter smartphone

If you follow what is being announced at the Mobile World Congress this year, they are all about smartphones with new looks and features. Notice that it is not called Smartphone World Congress; it is called Mobile World Congress for a very good reason. It is not about telephony anymore; it is about computer-in-a-pocket.

I do not see any compelling improvements in the new smartphone that make me want to replace my Galaxy S2, as far as my telephony needs are concerned. I don't need a smartphone to monitor my heart rate, as in the new Samsung S5. I don't need bigger screen or higher resolution as I'd rather carry a smaller phone. I don't need a faster processor; mine runs fast enough. I don't need more apps; (help!) I am already overloaded with them, most of which I don't use.

I do so want to replace my Galaxy S2 though, if the right phone comes along. I want one with a week-long battery life, in a small and light body. I don't need lots of features, but low price tag would be nice. I want one with reliable internet connection, both broadband and WLAN. I want built-in WhatsApp, Viber, Line, Skype and whatever good free phone or messaging systems are out there. Built-in emails like Gmail and other popular email systems would be good. The problem is, these apps seldom come as built-in apps. Instead, you get lots of unwanted bloatware.

I now carry a non-smartphone (Nokia 210), which many call a feature phone. I don't like that term because these phone are really quite featureless phones. They are good for the intended purpose of making calls and delivering SMS and not much else. My phone is cheap, small, light, and has several days of battery life. What's more, the alarm works even when the phone is switched off at night! This serves to extend the battery life and I get to sleep with being interrupted by calls and message alerts.

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