Finally! Someone has taken my idea to task. wohoo.
The big design drawback in the smart phone design is display power use. Sometimes that we need to step back to get a better view. This case is no different. Phone manufacturers, step back and ask yourself- what feature in a smart phone would a user care if they are almost out of battery- the phone! So in other words, the phone is the single most important usecase for a smart phone.
Here’s how to design the smart smartphone:
– Create a small LCD screen (remember phones with just one 10 digit LCD late ninetees?)
– Add a physical call button outside (not a touch button)
– Allow and encourage storage of favorite numbers on the SIM card
Lo and behold! you switch the phone into powersave ‘phone only’ mode when you are running low on battery!
Phone circuitry is a highly integrated system on chip design, so one argument against this can be that there no way to power just the telecom (codec) chip and not rest of it. To solve for this, and considering that the core phone telecommunications chip (CDMA or GSM) is only a miniscule portion of the entire chip, replicate it. Add two codec chips if required, but please please make smartphones, smart!
With 2000mAh+ batteries that Smartphones of 2012 carry, the ‘phone only’ mode can run for months without charging
It is very interesting to note that serious hikers, trekkers, back country adventure seekers dump their smart phones and carry special phones (with similar concept) for their journeys. Imagine being injured, getting one bar of signal and finding your smartphone dying in your hands.
Why is there hope? check out Yota phone. They seem to have the concept right, but the use case reverse.