The final ‘next big thing’

April 1, 2013
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FutureofCellPhones7

Was the Samsung Galaxy S4 the next big thing? Is the HTC One a game changer? The answer to both is the same: no. Even if they were groundbreaking, or otherwise overly impressive, there is usually something just around the corner promising to best them. Lately, we’ve been wondering what a truly game-changing phone would be. If our concept phone was to come out tomorrow, or next month, or maybe later this year… it would set a really high bar.

Cover me

The device shell should be made of kevlar, or a similar material. Resistant to scratches, and pliable without breakage… yet still rigid and comfortable to hold. This material would be the only thing besides the glass screen on our device, so it has to be tough and beautiful. We’re thinking gunmetal is a nice color to start with.

No visible screws like the Nexus 4, either. As for ports, we’ll go micro. Micro SD Card slot, micro USB, and an audio jack. There will be speakers, but no obnoxious speaker grills. The internal speakers will be at the corners, and the sound will emanate from there. Sound crazy? Maybe… but so does the ongoing chatter over where speakers should face and how to angle your device to best use them. Four corners are rarely blocked, and making a case to accommodate this feature would be simple.

gorilla-glass

The screen

Gorilla Glass is a beast, no doubt. It’s tough, scratch resistant, and beautiful. We see no reason to stray from it for this concept device, but we would like it altered. We’d like it thinner, and flexible. We’d like it scratch proof, and just as smooth and sexy as the rest. A flexible screen, paired with a flexible casing, would make this device almost unbreakable. This might cut into our drop test video fun, though. Oops!

Size

The size of the device depends largely on the screen size, which we’d like to be around 5.25” or so. This seems like a good compromise, as it’s not quite a tablet, yet not too small to make good use of all manner of apps. We’re also not using the ‘phablet’ moniker, either. This phone officially declares that terminology dead.

To distance ourselves from additional bulk, the phone should be without a bezel… all the way around the device. As ours is the latest version of our OS (keep reading!), it will only have software buttons. No need (or want) for hardware buttons, and a very minimal space at the top for a front-facing camera and to peek out.

Without added bezel, we’d also like to have the device be slim. As slim as the Motorola Razr… without the Maxx battery. That device was about 0.33” thick, and we’ll not have the giant camera block sticking out at the top.

Nexus 4 teardown

Gut check

No guts, no glory… and our device is going for it all. We want the device to mock all other devices that follow, so it has to be world-class. Great things are on the horizon in terms of internal hardware, and we intend to take full advantage.

Process this!

Those new Qualcomm processors look pretty tasty, don’t they? That Snapdragon 800 looks like a monster, with 2.3GHz of raw power. That’s exactly what we need in our device… a processor that can keep up with anything, and the 800 series should do nicely. Oh, and some LTE baked right in, no doubt.

Remember this!

That 2GB isn’t cutting it, you say? You need more RAM? Quadruple it! That’s right, we want 8GB of RAM because… why not? A screaming fast processor with plenty of RAM sounds like peanut butter and jelly. While we’re at it, let’s talk about storage.

We carry around devices with 16GB now, and it does the job fine. Cloud storage is becoming more prevalent, meaning we need less on-board storage. Some prefer a Micro SD slot on their device, which is why we’ve included it. We’ll also bump your on-board storage up a bit. A solid 64GB will work, but what if we offered a 128GB option, too? Which would you prefer?

Picture this!

Don’t lie… you take selfies. We all do, don’t worry. You want the world to know when you look good, and that’s alright! In your honor, we present the 8MP front-facing camera. Perfect for hangouts, or that ubiquitous self-portrait with the arm extended in the lower right of the screen. Just keep it classy, kids.

That back camera? How about 16MP? Better than many standalone cameras, and without the fussy ultrapixel thing that seems to confuse many of us. Megapixels aren’t everything, but they sure help out when you need an amazing photo.

Look at this!

We already know the screen size and material, but how good will it be? Screens are getting to the point where differentiating pixels is nearly impossible to the naked eye, so an ultra-dense PPI is just overkill. I can load all kinds of documents and apps to stretch out the memory, and try the processor… but they’ll only look as beautiful as my eyes will allow. We think an HD screen is just fine, as it will make the best of movies and TV without trying too hard.

cyanogenmod nexus one

Amenities

So far, lots of cool stuff, right? This device is a powerhouse, but what could take it over the top? What would make people just think “I must have that device”?

How about unlocked bootloaders?! More to the point, how about a manufacturer that supports and embraces the developer community, not only allowing them to develop for the device.. but encouraging it? Developers, specifically ROM developers, are constantly in a race against time once the source code is released. Rather than racing to the finish, our device manufacturer would get them everything they need months in advance so that when the device launches, you have your choice between the stock ROM… and theirs. Our operating system would also be available to developers much earlier than what they are seeing now.

All charged up

We’ve mentioned new battery technology before, and we think it’s time for it to see the light of day. A battery that lasts a week or so, and charges in 15 minutes? It seems far-fetched, but think of it. How glorious it would be to have a battery that just didn’t quit on you every day, or require a lengthy charge? You could finally just use a device, not having to babysit the power consumptive hardware all day.

A battery with this type of technology also allows us to cram all the good stuff into a tighter package. A battery with such responsible power management could be much smaller to suit our needs. Smaller battery, smaller phone, lighter footprint.

Google-Now-cards

The OS

Has to be Android, right? Well… yes and no. What we want is an Android/Google Now hybrid. We’d call our new baby Android NOW, and rather than fetch information… it would feed it to us. Did you arrive a bit early for your doctor appointment? Android NOW would suggest a game to play, or a book to read. It cross referenced your Google Calendar and your GPS location, so it knows you’re early. Driving around aimlessly? Your GPS saw that, so Android NOW is suggesting you set a destination in Google Maps. All your favorite Android goodness, spoon-fed to you by a smart, sleek, speedy device.

Conclusion

We’ve got a nearly unbreakable, uber-fast, long lasting, brilliant device. It can handle anything you toss at it, then asks for more. A device that outpaces us would be monumental, and perhaps a first. This ‘Android Authority 3000’ is also the last handheld mobile device you’d probably buy.

Are we saying nothing will ever beat it? No, but the only logical step forward is Google Glass. If a device like this were to exist, it would be more than our feeble human bodies could handle… and nothing else would impress us about a handheld device. We’d simply have to move on.

Perhaps this device isn’t as far off as we think. After considering our ideal phone, it turns out we’ve designed much of what the Motorola X is alleged to be… unbreakable, fast, with a battery that lasts. Maybe, just maybe, Google is one step ahead of our dreams. Then again, they usually are.

 

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