/ Shopping, Technology

What more do we want from our smartphones?


Gone are the days when a mobile phone just made calls and texts, our expectations of what a phone should do are getting higher. So you have to wonder, can they get any smarter?

For most of us a new phone is a biennial treat. Our contracts run out and we eagerly look to the must have new handsets and their must have new features.

It’s a situation I found myself in recently: out of contract, due an upgrade, but unable to decide on a new handset. I didn’t take the plunge until January because I was torn between the incredible phones on offer and the new ones on the horizon.

At the Mobile World Congress last week I saw first-hand some of the smartphones coming our way in 2016. Revelatory nuggets like the LG G5’s modular design that lets you slot useful accessories into the base, and the Galaxy S7’s display that conserves battery by showing you important alerts without the need to constantly take your phone off standby.

So it’s easy to play the waiting game, knowing that the next big handset is never more than a few months away. But these can leave an indecisive buyer like me frozen in a state of perpetual waiting.

A phone and so much more

In an attempt to reach a verdict on my recent upgrade, I listed the phones I was interested in and compared their features. Eventually my scientific approach found a winner and a Nexus 6P now sits neatly in my pocket.

Now, I chose my first phone, the Motorola C350, because of its colour screen and that I could download wallpapers to stamp my teenage individuality onto the tiny display. Other than that it made calls, sent texts and that was enough.

But my new nexus 6P can be unlocked with my fingerprint, control my speakers at home, and record 4K video as well as all the things we take for granted like watching YouTube and playing music. It’s equipped with everything I want and need, but I wonder what more it could do.

Don’t smartphones do enough already?

Despite the fact that the latest mobiles are more computer than phone, there’s a demand for them to do more.

A Carphone Warehouse survey on what features people wanted their next phone to have found that while most simply wanted better battery life, 10% also want their phone to be able to drive their car – I don’t like the sound of a two tonne remote-controlled Ford Mondeo, but it shows the scope of people’s expectations.

Slightly less outlandish is the desire for our phones to work better with other technology. Smart home gadgets are becoming commonplace: app-controlled wireless security cameras, thermostats and light bulbs are the tip of the iceberg and 70% of the people surveyed want their phones to control these smart devices seamlessly.

So it would seem that faster processors and higher resolution screens aren’t our only requirements. The current crop of smartphones are already lightning fast, with stunning displays, so manufacturers like Samsung and LG will need to rely more on unique features to grab our attention.

I wonder what features will be on my list in two years’ time, but I doubt I’ll want it to remotely control my car.

What would you like your phone to be able to do?


I want a smartphone that only has to be charged once a week, like the simple Nokia phone I used for years. I’m quite happy with a thicker phone.

Alternatively I would be happy with a battery that could be swapped for a charged one. I could do this with my old Nokia.

Your choice, Apple.


You might not have to wait too long for a longer lasting battery several types are being perfected including –organic also the intro above is prophetic a car manufacturer ,I think Volvo ,but will verify , has already tested a smartphone that unlocks the car and starts it up and in the US there is already a car that DRIVES itself by smartphone but it is still being made ready for public use.


I have read about batteries of the future but it’s difficult to know if and when they will appear.

Judging by the number of people who play with their phone while driving, maybe driving by phone might be the diversion they need to encourage them to focus on driving. 🙁


Good play on words -second paragraph. I get an American websites news on innovations from round the world by email I will check on more details once I get another one from them.


Many innovations seem to start in the US and then we get them – good or bad. I’m more interested in longer life batteries. One of the problems with driving a car by phone is of course – what happens when the battery runs down? 🙂


wavechange – pocket-lint.com/news/130380-future-batteries-coming-soon-charge-in-seconds-last-months— and its a UK site . One of the batteries is urine powered !


I wonder how anyone found out that urine might be useful in battery technology, but I remain open minded. In the meantime I must charge my phone.


If anybody noticed the Nissan Leaf had a crackable remote app. which allowed people half a world away to turn on your heating – not nice if you only have one battery. Nissan removed this app this week.

So whilst its lovely to nominate extended uses for your smart phone I suggest that manufacturers are not hack conscious – and even if they were hackers would no doubt crack it in time. Probably not reported much here was the judgement this week on a Turk who cracked the payment systems of the card issuers and orchestrated the scheme which allowed his confederates to withdraw $55m. This included $2.8m in New York City.


We’re inexorably moving towards a future in which we will become not simply dependent upon but almost certainly biologically linked to our mobile devices. It’s the logical next step, really. All that fiddling around to see the screen when it could be projected onto your retinas and overlaid with your real-time experience will become a thing of the past, regarded as quaint and in the same way we look back at early TVs with only four or five channels.

We live in a time when we all need continuous social contact and when our tolerance for delay has become severely diminished. What we want, we want now, whether that be a simple chat with a friend or a product from an online retailer.

I suspect this current crop of mobile devices marks a zenith in the industry: sales of all mobile devices are falling and people are becoming satiated with the trick selection they can pull off. So far wearable tech hasn’t gained as much traction as it might, but I suspect that will change. The trick is twofold: make the tech truly unobtrusive whilst simultaneously creating better batteries or a power harvesting system that makes batteries redundant.

Google glass was a good first attempt, but the infrastructure needed to support the system didn’t exist. With ubiquitous strong 4G signals, exceptionally fast processors and much better power harvesting systems my ideal system would consist of a tiny projector on the eye which provided virtual keyboards linked to an alpha wave detector to allow for simple on/off commanding. This would provide you with a giant screen wherever you went, almost instant access to all the information you could possibly want, all combined with a near-invisible hardware pack. Not too sure what it would cost, though…


I just like sitting down and having a pleasant relationship with my desktop PC once or twice a day. But then I lead a simple life by most people’s standards.


Ian -your far sighted vision isnt a pipe-dream . A secretive US government “branch ” shall we say –shhhhh ! dont talk about it. has “taken an interest ” in US vets who are brain damaged .During brain operations some of those vets had extra electrodes implanted in the brain to see how they could be influenced to “perform better ” they are a forerunner to micro chips ,which are available, being implanted in their brains . While officially it is to help them gain their brain functions and looks very altruistic ,there is a more secretive reason — this “department” of government belongs to the defense Dept. and large sums of money are being pumped in to make US soldiers more “efficient ” in the battlefield , but you can imagine the outcry from many humanitarian organisations and human rights groups as they can/will say those men will be “controlled ” . So Ian yes any image can be projected directly on the human brain now as scientists now know where to connect the interlinking electrical impulses of the brain . Russia+the US already have fighter jets controlled by though they have been out for years ,Russia had it first it gives quicker reaction times and better control as in -look-see enemy-fire. If you underestimate the human brain well scientists have also admitted that the human brain can contain all the worlds knowledge and at 10 Watts energy is only required while an equivalent computer would need an atomic power station to compete. A computer uses -0+1 a human brain has a lot more message transfer storage systems than that. makes you THINK eh ? – got to stop there heavy banging on door and shouts of- its the police !


Given the assumption that the US is, in fact, experimenting on using thought control to enhance its soldiers’ performance, it seems to be particularly useless at resolving world conflicts.

I prefer to do “real life” activity – gardening, diy, getting out and about, mild sport – than sitting glued to an electronic device peering into a virtual world (other than being a pest on convos of course). My phone is for necessary incoming and outgoing calls and occasional messaging. I am not over anxious to become more reliant on a device that seems to consume more and more time, is antisocial in many respects, and expensive. I’m clearly a dinosaur.


I would agree with that malcolm -except- you are not a dinosaur ,just a realist . The problem is young people are now being provided with tablets etc in schools under the pretext that -“it will make them more computer literate ” but in actual fact their young brains will be programmed to accept that electronic control and electronic information is normal instead of human interaction by their teachers to teach them real life experience because most of their teachers are “Internet ready ” and have not experienced all of life,s problems but live in a semi-virtual word already . As well as that government “programming ” of children by law is now a fact. so things that you and I would rebel against the future generations will accept as normal.


Maybe we should not have given children books, pencils and paper, never mind let them loose on computers or phones. If they have something that demands a telephone call they could be allowed to use their parents’ landline.

I find it interesting that watching films, TV and sport are widely regarded as respectable activities but more recent technology usually comes in for criticism. Incidentally, I’m not glued to my mobile and sometimes leave it at home, but as a way of finding information when and where it’s needed or making calls that can’t wait till I get home, it is rather handy. Perhaps it’s time to put it in perspective. My biggest concern is the increasing manipulation of the population by the commercial world.