Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 18th Aug 2014 14:48 UTC
PDAs, Cellphones, Wireless

Since the introduction of the Apple iPhone in 2007, the design and function of most modern smartphones have not changed much. And that appears to be the case this upcoming season. Nearly all of the phones are expected to be sequels to existing models.

PCs have been the same for decades. Laptops have been the same for decades. Smartphones will be the same for decades. Get used to it.

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The only advance I'd really like...
by torp on Mon 18th Aug 2014 15:12 UTC
torp
Member since:
2010-08-10

... is longer battery life.
Sadly, it's the one I'm least likely to get.

Reply Score: 3

wigry Member since:
2008-10-09

There are many things you can do to extend the battery life. My Lumia 520 lasts one week with single charge.

Usual battery drainers are background apps/services or for example navigation app that refuses to close and continues to navigate on its own. Als another place where massive amount of energy is spent is SD-card. Try to remove it from the phone and see how it affects your battery? If the difference is considerable, try to swap it for another manufacturers SD card. They are known to be wildly different at their power usage. Or if you can get by using only internal memory then get rid of the SD-card altogether.

I am very pleased with my one-week charge and have no need for anything else. With Lumia 520, IƤve found my perfect smartphone. Understand that usage scenarios will differ among people and not everybody would be satisfied with such a low-spec phone.

Reply Score: 4

shotsman Member since:
2005-07-22

Another thing you can do is to turn off Data and bluetooth when not needed.

I also used to put my phone into Airplane-Mode when going down the tube.

Now I don't need to bother my ancient Nokia lasts for at least a week between charges.

Reply Score: 3

No it isnt Member since:
2005-11-14

I could get a week just by turning off data. The only problem is, then it's no longer a smartphone.

Reply Score: 3

torp Member since:
2010-08-10

I could get a week just by turning off data. The only problem is, then it's no longer a smartphone.


This. Thanks everyone who gave me advice I already know. What I want is a smartphone that will last a week WITHOUT me worrying about all those things...

Reply Score: 1

_txf_ Member since:
2008-03-17

... is longer battery life.
Sadly, it's the one I'm least likely to get.


Alas, energy (production and storage) is always the hardest to crack. Battery technology has lagged almost all other technology to the point that all we do is mitigate the lack of progress in the energy storage front.

Reply Score: 4

tidux Member since:
2011-08-13

The SO THIN XD fad has actively hurt that. I don't mind a phone that's 2cm thick if I can have twenty hours of web browsing on a charge.

Reply Score: 2

Smartphones
by Bobthearch on Mon 18th Aug 2014 15:21 UTC
Bobthearch
Member since:
2006-01-27

Some horrible design features have been systematically included and copied into every "smart phone." There is definitely room for improvement.
I hate the flat slab shape. So awkward to hold and use.
Buttons around the edges? Ugh. I'm always accidentally pressing something while picking up the phone.
Touchscreen on the phone surface that goes against your head?!? Touch the phone against your ear, chin, or cheek during a call... Not "smart".

Reply Score: 6

RE: Smartphones
by zima on Thu 21st Aug 2014 22:50 UTC in reply to "Smartphones"
zima Member since:
2005-07-06

Do you suggest a return to side-talking:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/N-Gage_(device)#N-Gage_Classic
http://knowyourmeme.com/memes/sidetalking-n-gage
? ;)

Edited 2014-08-21 22:50 UTC

Reply Score: 2

Seimens SX1
by jamaca22 on Mon 18th Aug 2014 15:39 UTC
jamaca22
Member since:
2013-09-30

I remember the Siemens SX1 had buttons round the edges, I did have one for a while and surprising worked quite well. That's in the days before touch screen though.

Blackberry Passport may be breaking the mold with it's square screen and physical touch sensitive keyboard. will be interesting to see how it holds up in real use.

James

Reply Score: 4

You keep using that word...
by hallux on Mon 18th Aug 2014 16:04 UTC
hallux
Member since:
2013-12-08

"PCs have been the same for decades. Laptops have been the same for decades. Smartphones will be the same for decades. Get used to it."

You keep using that word... I do not think it means what you think it means.

I remember when the IBM PC (Model 5150) came out, when the PC-XT, the PC-AT, PS/2 all came out, (and the PC jr., hahahahah,); my last PC depending on how you define that word was a either an iMac 20", from 2009, as my last desktop computer, or a frankenstein I built myself with a 3.2 GHz, QUAD-CORE AMD CPU, 8.0 GB of RAM, a DVD-ROM reader/writer, 6.1 channel audio, a wireless keyboard and dark-field laser mouse, running LinuxMint GNU/Linux 17 with MATE. To suggest that *that* PC was not much different from the one my father bought circa 1983, with a 0 . 0 0 4 7 7 GHz SINGLE CORE processor, no math co-processor, no sound card, and 0 . 0 0 0 6 4 GB of RAM installed, (which was the maximum, it could have come with as little as one tenth that, 64 KILOBYTES,) is like saying CARS HAVEN'T CHANGED MUCH BETWEEN A MODEL-T Ford AND THE 2015 Ford MUSTANG, BECAUSE NEITHER CAN FLY!

My first computer was a Commodore 64, and the first time I used a computer at school, it was an Apple ][, with a pair of 5.25 inch floppy drives mounted under the monitor, green on black as I recall. I remember early laptops and luggables with their lack of internal batteries and monochrome screens a few years later, and PC-speakers capable of little more than a beep or a buzz, and tiny amounts of storage, glacial operating speed, and reliance on external media, lack of built-in communications equipment, etc. etc. etc.

I'm typing this on a MacBook Air. Again, to contrast early laptops that were about equivalent to the IBM PC-AT or PS/2 to a... for example... MacBook Air is ludicrous. It's capabilities are so far beyond that early ancestor that the comparison is nothing short of a joke. They only share the general form-factor of being about a foot wide, 2/3 - 3/4 as deep, and a tiny fraction of that amount in height when closed, and both have a general clam-shell shape, with a keyboard on one side, and a monitor on the other, both faced inward while closed. Beyond that, they are pretty much completely different.

As for the phone, I remember my first cellphone. I have an iPhone 5S now. Shall I once again go over the differences? I think this "story" should more properly be about how the author has FORGOTTEN so much about how things USED TO BE, that he/she now confuses how things ARE with how they ONCE WERE. Early cellphones, for starters, truly were cellular telephones. They employed ANALOG modulation of voice over an analog carrier, with no encryption of any kind, (you could listen in on people's calls with a scanner tuned to the correct frequency, and simply recording it allowed you to spoof it for billing purposes, called, "cloning" and you could make phone-calls on someone else's account, and the other person would get stuck with the bill!) you got *maybe* 45 minutes of talk-time, early models didn't support texting, didn't have apps, didn't have changeable ringtones or color screens, couldn't have firmware updates in any meaningful sense, couldn't be slipped into a pocket, and oh... microwaved your BRAINS if you talked on one too long.

To boost signal strength, it had a whip-antenna you could raise or lower, along with a warning in the manual not to yield to the temptation to do so (as people so often did) with their TEETH, as biting through the insulation could result in an RF BURN. If you wanted to take a picture with your cellphone, you found someone with a camera, and held your cellphone up, smiled, and said, "CHEESE!" while the other person snapped your picture using a CAMERA because the only way to get a cellphone with a camera on it was to set the cellphone down, and PLACE THE CAMERA ON TOP OF IT. And that's not *really* the same thing.

Smartphones, by contrast, are tablet-PC's masquerading as telephones because they have much the same features built into them. BUT... to call a SMARTPHONE of today basically the same as a 1980's era CELLPHONE is like suggesting the Space Shuttle was basically just a biplane with a single set of wings. Yes, both are capable of aerodynamic flight, both are big, expensive, and can carry people, but the similarities pretty much end there.

If the author had ANY point at all, it's this tautology: phones, whatever we call them will always largely be phones. This is because when any of us wants a phone, one will go out and buy a phone, not say... a fork. Computers will generally have similar characteristics to previous generations of computers because the functions we expect them to be able to perform haven't changed much in general nature. They'll still be the most interactive devices most of us deal-with, and the most computationally powerful.

You don't pierce the lettuce in a salad and EAT it with a phone, or a PC, you do it with a fork. You don't place calls to your friends with a fork, you do it with a PHONE. You don't type term papers with a phone or a fork, you use a PC. This is the only real meaningful observation that can be made from the original post in this thread, (or whatever they call it on OS news). It's basically a non-story, about on a par in terms of significance with Jerry Seinfeld's asking, "and WHAT is the DEAL, with airplane food?"

Yeah, I know... right?

I'll leave off with this point. My MacBook Air, (and similarly my other Cupertino-designed computers, an iPod, iPad, iPhone, and the old iMac,) all automatically adjust to the local time when I travel, so that the time displayed on the screen is correct based on the actual time it is wherever I happen to be, generally. The original IBM PC didn't even have a built-in watch-battery, so when you booted it, (after 5 minutes, when it got through counting and then recounting its kilobytes, doing all its extensive handshaking, etc.) it would prompt the user to enter the DATE because it didn't KNOW. Remember this? (From vintage-computer.com)

Enter today's date (m-d-y): 1-1-81_

The IBM Personal Computer DOS
Version 1.00 (C)Copyright IBM Corp 1981

A>

Yeah... you had to tell it the date. If you wanted it to think it wasn't MIDNIGHT, as I recall, you also had to use the "A>time" command. But... "PC's have been the same for decades"... yeah, okay dude.

Edited 2014-08-18 16:06 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE: You keep using that word...
by Thom_Holwerda on Mon 18th Aug 2014 16:30 UTC in reply to "You keep using that word..."
Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

That PC indeed is not effectively different from that first PC. It's just more powerful. The core concept and interaction models haven't changed in decades.

Reply Score: 4

RE[2]: You keep using that word...
by stestagg on Mon 18th Aug 2014 17:17 UTC in reply to "RE: You keep using that word..."
stestagg Member since:
2006-06-03

Well actually they have changed. The evolution of the pc /was/ the laptop, and from the laptop we've evolved the smartphone/tablet.

Most tech enhancements are pretty revolutionary. But progress is always uneven, so you get periods of lull, like we're in with smartphones right now, they are followed by periods of rapid progress that often define a new type of technology

My money is on the wearables/iot world personally

Reply Score: 4

RE: You keep using that word...
by phoenix on Mon 18th Aug 2014 16:44 UTC in reply to "You keep using that word..."
phoenix Member since:
2005-07-11

The form factor of the desktop PC has not changed in aeons: it's a rectangular slab that sits on/under the desk. Same as the original IBM PC from the 80s.

The form factor of the laptop has not changed in aeons: it's a clamshell with a monitor on one side and a keyboard on the other. There are a few exceptions in the convertibles (tablet or laptop modes), though.

The form factor of the smartphone has not changed in several generations: it's a rectangular slab with a touchscreen that takes up most of the front. Manufacturers haven't deviated from this in several years now. Sony was the last one to really play with form factors, with the Xperia Play, Xperia pro, and other phones in the 2011 Xperia lineup. But very few non-slab phones are available out there now.

Sure, the actual hardware inside all of the above has changed over the years, and the software has evolved in leaps and bounds, but the general form factor has not changed in aeons. Much to the detriment of those who want something different.

Reply Score: 7

RE: You keep using that word...
by biffuz on Mon 18th Aug 2014 17:36 UTC in reply to "You keep using that word..."
biffuz Member since:
2006-03-27

You got it the wrong way. Today's PCs and cars may be faster and better, but their form, function, usage, and technical fundaments have not changed in decades.

Let's go back to 1996. My PC is a Pentium 60 with Windows 95. I use it for school work, software development, listening to music, play games, read atlas and encyclopedias, browse the web, send emails, photo editing.

Fast forward 18 years. My PC is a i7 3.4 with Windows 7. I use it for office work, software development, listening to music and watching movies, play games, read atlas and encyclopedias, browse the web, send emails, photo and video editing.

See? The only extra thing I do is watch movies and video editing. Both PCs are a meta boxes which contain a CPU, some RAM, a video card, a sound card, an hard drive, an optical disk drive, and this thing is connected to a display, a mouse and a keyboard. Both PCs run a windowed, multitasking OS.
Overally the differences are minimal. The newer one is an evolution, not a revolution.

The same goes for cars, most people can learn to drive a car from the '50s in minutes, because the differences are minimal compared to the latest cars.

If you compare a new PC with a Commodore 64, I agree to call it a revolution, even if the technical basis are the same.
My camera instead undergone a technical revolution - in 1996 it used a film, now it has an electronic sensor, a CPU and a memory card, and also the usage has changed a lot, even if the main function is exactly the same as it was in the late 19th century.

Reply Score: 6

RE[2]: You keep using that word...
by zima on Thu 21st Aug 2014 23:17 UTC in reply to "RE: You keep using that word..."
zima Member since:
2005-07-06

Well there's always GEOS or Contiki available for Commodore 64... ;) (possible to do most of the things you did on a Pentium 60!)

Also, see my linked SymbOS links nearby - an OS running on computers comparable to C64.

Reply Score: 3

RE: You keep using that word...
by zima on Thu 21st Aug 2014 23:13 UTC in reply to "You keep using that word..."
zima Member since:
2005-07-06

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SymbOS
http://www.cpcwiki.eu/index.php/SymbOS
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ish4ReOjdIw (generally, check related / search YouTube for "SymbOS")

^this is running on a computer comparable to that first IBM PC; it's largely a matter of proper software...

Edited 2014-08-21 23:14 UTC

Reply Score: 3

It isn't
by muffenme on Mon 18th Aug 2014 16:04 UTC
muffenme
Member since:
2006-01-05

The mobile cell network, crappy apps, no easy way to add more storage, older smart phone can't be updated, crap ware added to some smart phone with no easy way to remove them and too many cell phone being release. This will hurt smart phone.

Reply Score: 1

happens with everything
by rdoyle720 on Mon 18th Aug 2014 16:04 UTC
rdoyle720
Member since:
2010-02-22

This is something that's confused me. You don't see a radical redesign every few years in cars, toasters, washing machines, and so on, yet for some reason in the technology industry people expect it. Solutions seem to solidify because they're pretty good solutions. That doesn't mean there isn't room to tinker, but expecting wholesale change every few years is ridiculous.

Reply Score: 5

Bad comparison
by jessesmith on Mon 18th Aug 2014 16:44 UTC
jessesmith
Member since:
2010-03-11

I think the problem is the author picks a point in time close to us and then says, "See, things haven't changed much in just a short period." Sure, if we define smart phones based on what the iPhone looked like in 2007, then they had not changed a lot (except for becoming more powerful, having longer battery life, running more applications, etc).

But go back a year or two before that. Look at a BlackBerry from 2006 and compare it to a Samsung Galaxy [insert latest number here]. Completely different interfaces, different form, very different capabilities. Compare a Blackberry from 2006 to a high end music/camera phone from 2004, again very different in appearance, battery life, interface and price.

We could even compare a 2007 iPhone against BlackBerry's new square phone and see all sorts of differences in almost every component. The two are recognizable as similar technology, but their form and approach are quite different.

In short, I think the author is saying that if we pick two close points in time and ignore many tiny differences then two things are very much alike. Which is misleading and short sighted.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Bad comparison
by phoenix on Mon 18th Aug 2014 16:49 UTC in reply to "Bad comparison"
phoenix Member since:
2005-07-11

Or, he could be saying that prior to 2007, there was a lot of differentiation in hardware and form factors between manufacturers. There were flip phones, sliders, phones that spun 270 degrees to reveal a keyboard, music phones, phones with gamepads, phones with docks and keyboards and whatnot. A display of phones in a carrier store revealed very few that looked similar. It was a wonderful time to shop around.

Now, especially since 2011, every phone is identical: a rectanglular slab with a touchscreen on the front. With the exception of Blackberry, all phones are the virtually the same. Sure, the innards are different, and the screen sizes are different, but that's the only differentiation.

Where are the slider phones? Where are the clamshell phones? Where are the dockable phones? Where are the flip phones? Where are any phones that aren't rectangular slabs?

Reply Score: 4

RE[2]: Bad comparison
by stestagg on Mon 18th Aug 2014 17:21 UTC in reply to "RE: Bad comparison"
stestagg Member since:
2006-06-03

Mechanical stuff is clunky. We don't have the materials to make interesting physical features small and robust enough to be sellable (in others words the current fad is for size more than different shapes.)

Reply Score: 3

Honestly, it's HARD to change the status quo
by Sabon on Mon 18th Aug 2014 17:33 UTC
Sabon
Member since:
2005-07-06

Honestly, it's HARD to change the status quo. There is a reason why people copy things because it takes a lot of energy and you have to convince the non tech people who are running the show and hold the purse strings as well as convincing all the developers below you to buy into the project. And then you have to stay long enough or have someone that replaces you buy into what you have started ... did I mention this is HARD?

It usually results is management being absolutely desperate or someone with enough power with a strong enough vision to push something through before you have dramatic changes to anything.

So far I don't see any of the players from Apple, Google, or Microsoft fitting the "vision" side of things. I *do* see Microsoft as being desperate but they have already created a phone that looks different and they are losing market share. Another big reason companies are scared to make anything different.

Reply Score: 1

things nobody asks for
by FunkyELF on Mon 18th Aug 2014 20:39 UTC
FunkyELF
Member since:
2006-07-26

We never get things that users actually notice and care about like battery life... they'll just add more fancy effects and add another core or crank op the clock speed so that any advances they've made in batteries goes out the window.

How about adding BT codecs that aren't terrible?

Reply Score: 3

If true....
by nagerst on Tue 19th Aug 2014 05:07 UTC
nagerst
Member since:
2013-11-07

Perhaps we could drop the "smart" in the name and just call them phones, mobile limited computing devices or something like that.

As my elderly neighbor said: There ain't no smart in those things, kids use 'em instead of their brains. Getting killed in traffic and what not, as they are not paying attention to the real world any mo'.

Reply Score: 1

RE: If true....
by Fergy on Tue 19th Aug 2014 07:54 UTC in reply to "If true...."
Fergy Member since:
2006-04-10

As my elderly neighbor said: There ain't no smart in those things, kids use 'em instead of their brains. Getting killed in traffic and what not, as they are not paying attention to the real world any mo'.

Those people just want to die. They think they don't enjoy the world anymore because the world has changed for the worse. What they don't get is that _they_ changed for the worse.

Reply Score: 2

RE: If true....
by zima on Thu 21st Aug 2014 23:19 UTC in reply to "If true...."
zima Member since:
2005-07-06

Perhaps we could drop the "smart" in the name and just call them phones

I already do that; pretty much always did that...

Reply Score: 2

v Laptops have been the same for decades?
by snegtul on Tue 19th Aug 2014 14:34 UTC
phoenix Member since:
2005-07-11

With the exception of convertibles, laptop form factors have not changed in 20-odd years: clamshell case with a monitor on one side and a keyboard on the other.

Sure, sizes have changed, thickness has changed, number of ports and slots and whatnot around the edges have changed. But the actual form factor? Nope.

Reply Score: 4

Bobthearch Member since:
2006-01-27

Yep. The basic form factor hasn't changed since ca. 1990 when the hinge-at-the-rear design became standard. I don't know which model was the very first, but the Powerbook is a good example and it was released in 1989.
I can't even recall the last time a manufacturer marketed a laptop-size device with a hinge not in the rear, or any kind of sliding or popup mechanism. The most recent that comes to mind is the "convertible" swivel design, and even those have been around for well over 10 years (since 2001, Meritage PC).

Reply Score: 4

zima Member since:
2005-07-06

The basic form factor hasn't changed since ca. 1990 when the hinge-at-the-rear design became standard. I don't know which model was the very first, but the Powerbook is a good example and it was released in 1989.

A decade earlier we (well... NASA and US military ;) ) had http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grid_Compass

Reply Score: 3