Every product goes through constant evolution that keeps making it better; either by fixing things that were wrong, or by adding things that adds value. As we keep walking this path to ‘better’, there are certain milestones which can be declared as ‘the right thing to do’. Today we look back at those little things done right with smartphone hardware; making the device better to use.
Placement of the speaker either at the bottom or the front
This one’s a no-brainer. Placing the speaker at the back of the phone is counterproductive; as it tends to muffle the output when the phone’s kept face-up. Also, speakers pointed closer to the direction of the ear in my experience have always resulted in better audibility.
Thus, putting the speaker at the back of the phone should be a strict no-no. Putting them on the bottom edge is a fair deal, but then you may end up with cupping the speaker with your hand to hear maybe, the weak audio source one encounters in a YouTube video. Heck, there are even accessories made to get around this issue.
As the HTC One has shown us, putting speakers on the front face of the phone is the most intelligible position. Especially when there are two of them!
Power button placement to the right edge on big smartphones
Smartphones have been growing out of control nowadays. Putting the power button on the top a phone with more than 4-inch screen size is never a good idea, as it takes an effort to stretch the index finger to reach it. Having it on the right edge of the device makes it much easier to reach with your thumb (or index finger if you’re left-handed).
After all, it probably is the most used physical button on a phone, as regular smartphone users end up waking their phones up from standby at least tens of times a day.
Water and Dust Resistance
A few manufacturers like Sony have really taken the Water and Dust resistance thing seriously and incorporated it to most of their high-end lineup. Even Samsung has the S4 Active variant, meant to withstand the splashes and sand of the beach. We feel this should just be a default feature, at least on high-end handsets. Nobody wants their hard earned money go to the service centre due to the forces of nature. It will let us be a little carefree with our devices.
Natural Language Processor
The Moto X boasted of the “X8 Mobile Computing System”, which is a fancy name for a Qualcomm S4 Pro chip paired with a couple of low-power processors that do just one thing — constantly keep listening to your command. This allows the Moto X to have an always-on voice recognition without it hampering battery life. Just saying “Ok, Google Now” wakes the phone up from sleep and you can give it a range of commands from finding directions, to messaging to even finding what’s the diameter of the earth.
Imagine how immensely useful this truly handsfree system will be when you’re driving your car.
Optical Image Stabilisation
Optical Image Stabilisation was popularised by the Nokia Lumia 920, and others have followed suit. Today, phones like the HTC One, LG G2 and even Nokia’s latest Lumia 1020 has OIS that helps with two things. First, while shooting video or taking photos in motion, the lens moves in the opposite direction of the motion, thereby reducing blurry photos and shaky videos. Next, it helps producing better photos in low-light environments. This is extremely useful because the accompanying LED flash can properly illuminate objects that are close-by. Besides, the use of a flash can also leave some undesired results like overexposure.
These are five smartphone hardware innovations we think should be in every high-end smartphone. What do you say?