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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2555

Smartphones: there’s still room for making them smarter!

Hemantha Abeywardena writes from London…

Smartphones did utterly transform our lives within a decade in many different ways. Unlike old, humble, land phone, it, when abused, has the potential to make the closer ones more distant and the more distant ones closer in human relationships, while leaving the complementing phase at the hands of popular social networks.

Simple maths speaks for itself: most users check the phone about 80 times a day or 2400 times a month. Like it or not, it has already become an integral part of our lives and neither the hypothetical health scares nor the elevation of an irresistible habit to the level of addiction are going to change it at present.

A smartphone is essentially a small computer in your pocket in terms of its power and functionalities. In this context, there is no substitute for it in the offing.

As the mobile phone market is slowly becoming saturated with a steady flow of new units from different manufactures, users are being overwhelmed by the sheer choice that they see before them.

Against the expectations of the manufacturers, however, more and more users lose the urge to go for the latest handsets, as the existing ones do the jobs at hand without major issues; lack of innovation, meanwhile, makes the situation worse for the manufacturers, who are aware of the concerns of the shareholders of their respective companies.

Well-hackneyed slogans about the superiority of hardware inside the latest handsets are being pushed to the realm of gimmicks in proportion to the propagation of soundbites; they no longer cut any ice with the consumers as they used to do.

Against this backdrop, if manufactures have come to the point of scratching their heads or banging their heads together in search of new ideas in boardrooms, they can still find issues that are not too trivial to be ignored in the existing smartphones.

For instance, in most of high-end Android devices, there is no way of taking care of call log history; those who receive calls more frequently are forced to delete the call log manually as the rapid growth of call numbers can take up vital memory.

As the last resort, most users have no choice other than using a third-party app for a mundane job of this kind. Not only such apps take up more memory, but also force users to put up with endless advertisements that pop up at regular short intervals.

The complicated calendar app in smartphones is not user-friendly either. The tendency of users downloading third-party app for this purpose in the presence of the built-in app shows the frustration of users while dealing with the latter.

The innovative features of apps produced by external developers often outsmart those of the developers of the big manufactures – a sad development.

Big manufactures of the smartphones have to go beyond making the phones thinner or increasing pixels in the cameras in order to stay in the game or relevant in the long run.

They still can make the existing, common functionalities streamlined and more user friendly before looking outward for creativity – and inspiration.

The industry, despite the hype on many fronts, has been static for some time. A collective approach in infusing some dynamism to the industry is urgent and a pragmatic visionary will find many within the current smartphones, which in turn could bring about much-needed watershed moment.

- Asian Tribune -

Smartphones: there’s still room for making them smarter!
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