I’m a self-confessed smartphone geek, and I’m almost embarrassed to admit that I’ve actually started fantasizing about my next device. The superphone of my dreams hasn’t been announced yet, since no handset that is currently on the market have all the features I want. A year ago, I wrote a post called Next Phone Dream Specs about what I hoped my next device would be like. This is the new, updated version one year later.
Last month, I was a guest writer at AndroidGuys.com with an opinion piece called Saving the Gadget? The Dilemma of an Android Fanatic. I was determined to not buy a new device for all of 2010, and resist the urge to upgrade. The article at AndroidGuys received some great feedback, and it became evident that I was not the only one trying to not spend a small fortune on gadgets. One of the funniest commenters stated that he had been “fiending like a meth head” over replacing his G1 (HTC Dream).
In September last year, I bought the HTC Hero – my first Android device. I was aware of its limitations (a fairly small and low-res screen, obsolete processor, no camera flash, no radio, no hardware QWERTY, etc), but I needed some Android action, and I needed it badly, so I was willing to make some hardware sacrifices. However, the last couple of weeks I have felt, more for each day, that I have already outgrown the Hero and need an upgrade.
Consequently, I sold my Hero (it only took five hours from the time I placed the ad), with a 40% loss I might add, and I’m thinking of getting the HTC Desire when it’s released in a couple of weeks. And even though the Desire does not match the imaginary device listed below, it can certainly hold its own against the world’s top phones at the moment. After the Hero, I promised myself to never buy another device without a hardware QWERTY, but there’s no such high-end Android phone in sight.
The specs below are basically features that I’ve taken from some of my favorite smartphones, and put them all into one single device. Here it is, the superphone that could make a grown geek cry!
|OS:||Android, definitely. I think it’s the most promising mobile OS in the world, and I have believed that for two years now. I actually think Microsoft just might be able to redeem itself with the intriguing Windows Phone 7, after the dark ages of Windows Mobile, but my heart belongs to Android. I also have a soft spot for dear old Symbian, flawed as it may be, but since I already own a Nokia N97, Android is the only way to roll.|
|Weight:||I don’t think the weight is a very important factor, so anything from 160g and down will do fine.|
|Screen Size:||My N97 has a 3.5″ screen, so at least 3.7 inches. Almost everything looks better and is more usable on a large display, provided that it has a resolution that matches its size, of course. The 3.2″ screen of the HTC Hero is certainly too small for me, and that was one of the main reasons I sold it. But since I also want my phone to be more or less pocketable, a 4.3 inch screen, like that of the upcoming behemoth HTC Evo 4G, will probably be too big. I haven’t seen such a large display on a smartphone in real life yet, but it appears to be pretty huge. Because of that, 4 inches (Xperia X10, Galaxy S etc) seems like the perfect screen size at the moment.|
A year ago, AMOLED was all the rage when it came to phone displays, and now Super AMOLED is the hot new thing. The latest and greatest in mobile screens is developed by Samsung, and the technology is featured on the upcoming Android über-phone Samsung i9000 Galaxy S.
The main advantages of Super AMOLED versus traditional AMOLED: it’s 20% brighter, has 80% less sunlight reflection and uses 20% less power. Super AMOLED displays will supposedly also offer better contrast. I’ve never had a device with an AMOLED screen before, let alone the Super variant, so I’m eager to find out whether or not the difference is as big as reviewers tell you. When I’ve looked at AMOLED screens in stores, I haven’t noticed any great improvements over regular TFT-LCD, but perhaps the difference is more apparent in different lighting conditions and when you use it every day.
I also want the display to support 16 millions of colors. That has been a standard on Nokia’s Symbian smartphones for years, but the first Android phones only had 65K color displays, and Windows Mobile has never supported screens with more colors than that. A major drawback with 65K displays, that was especially noticeable on the HTC Hero, is that gradients/shaded backgrounds in the UI are choppy since the amount of colors is limited. Fortunately, the latest versions of Android support 16 million colors. The display should naturally also be capacitive, which enables instant response to a screen touch – there’s no need to press down like on resistive displays.
|Resolution:||I’d have to say FWVGA (Full Wide Video Graphics Array), which equals 854×480 pixels. It’s called “Full WVGA” as it represent true 16:9 aspect ratio (unlike WVGA) which can show HD video without any cropping. FWVGA should look great on a 4 inch display.|
|Camera:||It’s a well-known fact that a mere megapixel increase does not necessarily result in better pictures. Hence, a 5MP camera could in theory take higher quality pictures than one with 8 or even 12 MP. With that in mind, this imaginary superphone could come with anything between 5-12 MP, as long as it has great optics, autofocus and a proper flash (a must). It should also be quick. A lens cover would be a bonus, but not a requirement. The HTC Evo 4G is capable of recording 720p video, so I’ll have that as well, please.|
|Memory:||As I mentioned in my previous specs article, the max capacity of microSDHC cards are 32GB, which makes the amount of internal memory of less importance. You would think, but the internal storage can be a very important factor on Android devices, since that’s where you currently need to install all your apps (until Google figures out a piracy-safe way to install them to the memory card). Many Android users fear the dreaded “Low on space” message, not to mention the hassle those with Symbian^1 devices have with the virtually non-existent internal memory. The Nokia N97 has a 32GB mass memory, and the previously mentioned Samsung Galaxy S has up to 16GB of internal storage. I think this superphone we’re building should have at least 32GB of ROM, right?|
Snapdragon 1GHz processors are for kids (apparently), since Samsung’s S5PC110 Hummingbird chipset currently is the world’s fastest Cortex-A8 based processor. This bad boy can process a staggering 90 million triangles per second, which is three times faster than any other smartphone. The Hummingbird is the heart of the Samsung Galaxy S, and here’s a comparison:
Of course I want the awesome graphical processing powers of the Hummingbird on my custom superphone.
|RAM:||The HTC Desire has 576 MB of RAM, which presently is somewhere in the lead. The HTC Incredible is rumored to have a massive 1GB of RAM, and that sounds good to me. Hello, multi-tasking.|
That is my idea of the ultimate 2010 superphone. What would your dream device look like? How long do you think it will be until we see a handset like this on the market? Is there anything you would like to change or add to the specifications above, and does anyone know know of a phone that actually resembles the imaginary device I’ve just assembled?