5 Things we’re still missing from our Smartphones

Orrett Morgan
Jul 1, 2009
Updated • Dec 1, 2012
Mobile Computing

With the iPhone, Pre, and a whole host of Android devices out the door, the race for the control of the cell phone market is heating up. As things usually go in the cell phone world, there are more battles of who had what first then who actually made it work right. That said, I thought it would be a good idea to cover five functions/features we absolutely need in our cell phones err Smartphone’s.

FLASH: At the top of my list is flash. For those of you who think flash is only there to watch Youtube and Redtube videos, think again. With estimates running at 60% of all websites have some sort of flash embedded, it is imperative that we get this and get it soon. We’ve had Javascript for some time and that’s nice, but nothing can beat good old flash.

For this to happen though, we are going to need faster chips in our phones. So I suggest to Smartphone manufacturers to start looking to Snapdragon and Tegra as viable options. At least Palm and Apple aren’t too bad in the specs arena but a 1GHz chip would be much better.

Not to worry though, Adobe is working on bringing Flash to Windows Mobile, Palm, Android and Nokia by October of this year. No word on Blackberry and Apple though.

OLED Displays: VGA, WXVGA and LCD are so yesterday. It’s time that we move forward and embrace new technology. As it currently stands, OLED technology is pretty cheap (Sony has a 32GB walkman with one of these stuck in it for only $400). I was ecstatic when I heard the rumors that the iPhone 3GS would be getting the OLED treatment, only to have my hopes shattered. But its not too late, more Android, Palm, Blackberry and Window’s Mobile devices are due in the near future, lets see which one of them decides to blaze the trail.

And while I am on the issue with the screens, it would be nice to have bigger screens. The iPhone and Pre do an excellent job of navigating webpages, but 3 inch screens are tight on the eyes. Someone must be able to create a flip out 4 or 5 inch screen in the near future.


Better Productivity Programs: As the saying goes, if I cannot edit my presentation, it’s not a smartphone. But seriously doc, spreadsheet and presentation editing are standard now. Its time to innovate and what better way to start with some mobile apps that tackle such things as photo and video editing, database management, server management and not to mention full desktop control.

Some of these have been imitated but so far nothing has come close to doing justice to the situation. I’m not asking for much here. I wouldn’t expect a full fledged mobile version of Photoshop but at least allow me to insert an iPhone into President Obama’s hand. We do have progress though, as the iPhone 3GS made the first move in this direction with the ability to edit video clips.

HD Video Recording: Every month cell phones become a little more advanced in the digital photography arena by adding more megapixels and better CMOS to their specs. But we’re still stuck with the same old VGA video shooting. It’s time for someone to break the norm and bring us HD video shooting. I’m not asking for full 1080p. I would be satisfied with 720p or even 480p to begin with but don’t tell me its impossible because the Mini HD flip is just a little bigger then most Smartphone’s and its packing midrange HD capabilities.

In terms of chips and processors, Atom, and Tegra are two mobile chips that are more then capable of handling this feature and they are not that expensive to stick into a mobile phone. Its about time I am able to view videos recorded on a mobile phone without and properly distinguish a head from a trash can.

More Wireless Features: For a device that was built around the premise that we should have less wires in our lives, our cell phones sure do require a lot of wires to operate. There has been some progress in this area but it is slow. Such things as software updates, tethering, charging, printing etc. are things that should all be done wirelessly. Thankfully these options are all available now but in different models so no device carries it all.

Hopefully if Bluetooth 3.0 makes it out on schedule, a lot of these will begin to make their way to the mainstream—that is if the service providers will allow it.

So what are some of the things you require from a smartphone that currently isn’t available? Let me know in the comments below.


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  1. Mike SHaw said on July 5, 2009 at 12:35 am

    Wireless N. It will become official in Nov. I believe. Honestly who gives a muck about bluetooth 3.0?

  2. Footnote said on July 2, 2009 at 7:32 am

    I believe the first Nokia device to support Flash (9210i) was introduced in 2002. :)

  3. Dave said on July 2, 2009 at 5:12 am

    Excluding the possibility to record HD video and having OLED displays – the other things have been a norm for Nokia’s phones for the better part of two years.

  4. ben nguyen said on July 2, 2009 at 2:54 am

    The ideal phone would have it all!

    – Unlocked SIM card (GSM) or RUIM card (CDMA), Worldwide Quad Band
    – Open Source / SDK – Google Android
    – Mini-Projector
    – Front and Back 8MP Camera with Macro Lens (for Barcodes) and flash
    – I/O cable for Keyboard, Printer, Ethernet, USB, Video (analog/digital in/out)
    – GPS (with Turn by Turn Map/Traffic Navigation)
    – Easily Removable Micro SD Card
    – WiFi, QWERTY, Accelerometer, Compass
    – Standard USB Micro-b Connector
    – Bluetooth (Client/Server Headphone Services)
    – Built In Speakers & Mic
    – AM/FM Radio Receiver, FM Transmitter
    – MP3 Variable Speed Playback , and Fast Forward
    – Divx / Xvid Video Support
    – Can act as wifi router (hotspot)
    – Induction battery charging (or windup, solar)

  5. john said on July 1, 2009 at 7:21 pm

    There is no WXVGA. If you meant WXGA, are you serious that 1366*768 is not enough for a mobile phone screen?

  6. macwarlock said on July 1, 2009 at 4:32 pm

    And a pony too! Kidding aside, at least some of the missing features listed are being delayed for good reason.

    Flash, for instance, is widely regarded as having abysmal performance with respect to the hardware needed to get it running adequately. Like many, I’m hopeful Adobe will actually do a solid job on a mobile version, but I think more people need to look at HTML5 offerings before crying that Flash is a must have for a smartphone. There’s a reason people running multicore desktops still install Flash blocking browser plug-ins. Flash has been inappropriately shoehorned in so many cases already, browsing on my smartphone is like a breath of fresh air at times.

    OLED displays are like 240hz; awesome to look at but too cost prohibitive to start using willy nilly. This is a case of patience, so I guess we should all just sit tight for now.

    EDIT: Just did a little Googling and it looks like the ZuneHD will be using a 3.2″ OLED touchscreen. Progress marches forward!

    Better productivity programs? Apple, RIM, Nokia and Palm all have app stores now, so this problem rests on the shoulders of third party developers.

    HD video recording. Ahh, it would be nice, wouldn’t it? Except the same hardware and battery concerns as Flash remain. Atom processors? A ways to go before they can match the efficiency of the current ARM favorites, and a ways to go beyond that until they start getting slapped into handsets. WRT the Flip HD, it helps that the entire device is dedicated to the purpose of video recording.

    Almost all the wireless features are already here. iPhones update apps wirelessly and tether using Bluetooth. Personally, I don’t mind having to plug my phone into charge so the Palm recharging stone isn’t that appealing, but wireless (802.11) syncing of music/data would be great.

    In concession I’ll admit that the devices that can accomplish these requests aren’t yet in the majority, but it usually only takes the market leaders to start moving forward before everyone else jumps on and cries ME TOO!

  7. Orrett Morgan said on July 1, 2009 at 2:50 pm

    If you notice I did mention that some of these features are available in a few cellphones. But as a whole they are none existent.

    BTW yes I have taken a look at the Omnia HD. Saw it back in January at CES. Gotta agree that its pretty awesome.

  8. saint said on July 1, 2009 at 10:27 am

    Where do you live?

    hd video, amoled –


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