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Building the Perfect Smartphone

Dave Parrack 28-01-2015

Smartphones are improving all the time. The current models make the early attempts look ancient, despite it being less than a decade since the original iPhone was introduced to an awestruck world. However, the perfect smartphone doesn’t yet exist. Which is a problem we’re seeking to remedy.


Smarter Smartphone Features

As much as you may love your current smartphone Are You Addicted To Your Smartphone? At one time, landlines and payphones were all we had--and we survived just fine, thank you very much. But now, it’s almost laughable if you don’t own an iPhone or Android, and for some of... Read More , there are bound to be things about it with which you’re unsatisfied. If not, then you’re either easily pleased or lying through your teeth to make yourself feel better about having paid a small fortune for your pocket-dwelling gadget of choice.

Either way, you, like everybody else reading this, will have pondered how the smartphone of the future may look. We recently asked our readers exactly what they would include on their perfect smartphone. There were some clear trends present in the discussion, which we have broken down for you below…

Unbreakable Hardware


The perfect smartphone would have unbreakable hardware, or, at the very least, components that are a lot more able to stand up to the abuse meted out by the average user. This goes for the case, which should be both rugged and strong, and the screen, which should remain scratch-free The Ultimate Guide: How To Protect Your Smartphone From Scratches Modern smartphones and tablets have big, beautiful displays. They look great when they come out of the box but they leave a device more vulnerable to both major and minor damage. A drop can shatter... Read More no matter what you use as a stylus.

The other option would be to use bendable, flexible materials which would keep the smartphone safe no matter what height it’s dropped from. Apple has recently patented such a design Apple Patents Bendy iPhone, Android TV Replaces Google TV [Tech News Digest] Apple patents a bendy iPhone, Android TV replaces Google TV, the FBI maintains North Korea hacked Sony, David Cross looks to BitTorrent, Bill Gates drinks human waste, and a basketball referee makes the wrong call. Read More , so we may well see a bendable iPhone in the not-too-distant future. And where Apple leads, others will follow. Specifically, Samsung and Huawei.


Customization Options


The perfect smartphone would have more customization options than you could ever fully explore. This is unlikely to happen on the iPhone, as Apple likes to control the user experience as much as possible, but there is definitely scope for more customization on open source operating systems.

Selling smartphones with unlocked bootloaders would allow more experienced users to extensively change the user experience with custom ROMs What Are The Best Custom Android ROMs? The moment you realize you can flash your Android phone with a new ROM is a pivotal one. Suddenly, you're free: Endless customization options, no more vendor bloatware, and, best of all, you don't have... Read More and the like. On a smaller scale, the ability to delete default apps and upgrade certain parts without buying a whole new phone would be essential. Which is a gap in the market Google is hoping to fill with Project Ara Samsung Buying BlackBerry Denials, Google Reveals Project Ara Prototype [Tech News Digest] Samsung wants BlackBerry, Google reveals Project Ara, Facebook restricts violence, Lightroom Mobile on Android, MySpace isn't dead, and why you should never rely on your smartphone alarm. Read More .

Common Sensors



The perfect smartphone would feature more sensors than the current generation of devices. We all know smartphones have already replaced the need 7 Household Items Our Smartphones Replaced That Maybe They Shouldn't Have Our smartphones have replaced a lot of commons items, but is that really for the best? Read More to carry several other gadgets, but there are still more to be explored.

The most obvious sensor to add would be a thermometer or barometer, either of which would be more useful than even the best weather apps Predict The Future (Of Weather) With These 7 Awesome Weather Apps [Android] Correctly predicting the weather is about as easy as eating a handful of screws, yet we keep attempting it day after day. Sometimes we get it right; most times we don’t. However, weather information is... Read More . Other possibilities include a breathalyzer, a carbon monoxide detector, and even a perfunctory smoke alarm.

Camera Capabilities


The perfect smartphone would feature a camera that’s at least on a par with an expensive point-and-shoot. Some would argue that this is already the case, but that’s only for the select few who have made the sensible decision to buy a Windows Phone device Why You Should Consider Switching To Windows Phone [Opinion] I want Windows Phone to succeed. The problem is persuading you Apple fanboys and Google droids to give Windows Phone a chance. Read More boasting a PureView sensor.


The point is that while most people are more than happy to use their smartphone to take random snapshots when the need arises, many would still want a dedicated camera for big events. If the quality of smartphone cameras increased by a big margin we could all finally ditch our cameras.

Power Hungry


The perfect smartphone would feature a battery which can last for several days without needing to be charged. This was by far the most requested feature amongst our readers, suggesting people are getting sick and tired of rushing home to charge their phone after much less than a full day of medium use.

This is a rather tricky problem to overcome, as increasing the life of a battery 10 Proven and Tested Tips to Extend Battery Life on Android Suffering from poor battery life on Android? Follow these tips to get more juice out of your Android device's battery. Read More using the current technology means upping the capacity, which in turn means upping the bulkiness. While everybody would appreciate a longer battery life, we suspect few would be happy to accept a larger, heavier device as a result.


Continue The Conversation

If we’re honest we don’t expect any of the big smartphone manufacturers to read this and start working our ideas into their designs for the next generation of mobile devices. However, at least we know what features the MakeUseOf readership would like to see on the iPhone, Android, Windows, or BlackBerry device they’re planning to buy in the years to come.

Please continue the conversation in the comments section below, as, although a good number of our readers took part in the original discussion, there is always room for more opinions and more suggestions. Whether you agree with what has been said so far or not, be sure to get in touch and let us know what components or features you would include on your perfect smartphone.

A Debt Of Gratitude

In order to build the perfect smartphone, at least in the confines of our own heads, we received help from the MakeUseOf community. As always, our readers proved to be an invaluable part of the site you’re reading right now.

The readers we need to thank took the time to answer the question, What Would You Include In The Perfect Smartphone?, and their responses helped us compile this article. Noteworthy comments include those from KT, John, dragonmouth, and likefunbutnot.

Image Credits: Derek Mindler, njaminjami, Karlis Dambrans, Gareth Saunders [Broken Link Removed], Karlis Dambrans, and Takashi Hososhima. All via Flickr

Related topics: Android Customization, Battery Life, Digital Camera, Smart Sensor, We Ask You, Wearable Technology.

Affiliate Disclosure: By buying the products we recommend, you help keep the site alive. Read more.

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  1. Kibirango Ali
    May 18, 2015 at 3:25 pm

    Today smartphones combined are at least close to perfect but this is what I think should be on a single perfect smartphone overall;
    1 True multi tasking like how it's done on windows pcs with at least dual-window support and the ability for all apps in the background to run fully as if they were on screen. Wat sucks me is that smartphones are increasingly having unbelievable power but still have limited multitasking
    2. Upgradable storage should be a must because not everyone fancies cloud storage yet today's media files are heavy due to the high quality
    3. They should also have cameras that make DSLR cameras toys.
    I remain me....thanks

  2. Flash
    February 3, 2015 at 2:19 pm

    Most of the conversion is about additional features but how about 1st fixing the voice quality issues that most phones have. When I can call people who have landlines they can tell immediately that I am on my iPhone or another so called "smartphone". HD voice would be really nice.

  3. Doc
    January 29, 2015 at 8:57 pm


  4. Doc
    January 29, 2015 at 8:56 pm

    Two MAJOR requirements for a phone: Removable, replaceable battery; and an SD card slot. Which leaves out Apple on both counts, and any Google Nexus phone on the latter.
    I don't see why so many people want such a tiny, thin phone; all the grips I hear are about "the screen's too big" or "the phone needs to be wafer thin" - smaller phones make it harder to read (I'm approaching middle age, and my 4" phone - all I can afford - ain't cutting it, with a paltry 840x480 screen!); and thinner phones mean smaller batteries that are likely glued in.
    Google nerfed SD card support in Android 4.x, but have (reluctantly) made them first-class citizens again in 5.0, and Apple's so paranoid about its iTunes purchases that they've *never* included SD cards. Just waiting for someone to "hack" an iPhone case that adds all sorts of connectors, just like the "Typo Keyboard Case" that Ryan Seacrest's team got sued for, or the "backpack" battery cases.

  5. Von Adam Martinez
    January 29, 2015 at 2:38 am

    It must have a premium build like HTC One M8, Camera like the one in iPhone 6 Plus, battery life like the one in Oneplus One, UI like the one in iOS devices. This is the perfect smartphone in my opinion. For the speed, I am not sure what is the fastest right now so I didn't include it.

  6. Charlie
    January 29, 2015 at 1:46 am

    Nice article, seemed to cover many of the current gripes about these devices…Not a single mention of voice quality though. I mean, after all, they're still phones.

  7. John Williams
    January 28, 2015 at 11:57 pm

    The "middle" thickness of my new Asus Zenphone is nearly 1cm thick. At some point the Asus engineering team overwhelmed their "Jonty designerman" and said NO! The customers don't always want a waffer thin phone, they want a two day battery. That's why they keep buying battery back cases and making your super slim luxury designer phone look like crap. They would prefer to have the bigger battery built in to the phone, thank you.

    The cost of a smartphone is a major factor in the Business model of Motorola, Xaomi and Asus. They are already to market with phones that are faster, bigger and better than Samsung, HTC and Apple. The slightest dent on a £600 iPhone ruins it forever. The dent can't be buffed out. Will people pay £800 for a titanium or stainless steel "unbreakable" phone? Or will they buy a plastic phone and change the plastic back - or the whole case - and have it looking like brand new all over again.

    Smartphones are becoming ubiquitous sub - 100 dollar tools. No-one will give them a second thought soon. Just like the early Nokias, drop it on a concrete floor, or down some concrete stairs for good measure. Pick up the five pieces it exploded into, click it back together and carry on to lunch .... If it got a bit too badly scratched this time, a couple of quid for a new plastic shell got it looking nice again. The solid state phone chassis never stopped working. It didn't even lose any data when the battery was ripped out of it at high speed.

    Believe me, once the hoverboards and flying cars come into production "smart" phones will be so yesterday.

    • ColdFire001
      January 29, 2015 at 5:02 pm

      You reminded me of Project Ara. While I dont know if the pieces are specifically solid state. The phone is in "pieces". Google it. Then Google "Project Ara Taco Truck". Hilarious.

  8. Joe
    January 28, 2015 at 11:15 pm

    I would like a phone that I don't have to "root" to be able to customize it. And rooting should be legal.

    I would like to be able to get advanced access to a phone without the current all or nothing approach. I want it to work like Linux where everything is relatively secure at the user level, but can be selectively opened up at the superuser level for configuring/allowing things without just "running as root" with almost no protection.

  9. R A Myers
    January 28, 2015 at 4:08 pm

    Dear Mr. Parrack,

    Thank you for putting ruggedness as one of the top requirements for a smart phone.

    That's why we have early models of CAT B15 series phones. The B-15 is also compact and easy to hold, which we both need.

    It's also why I replied "Start with a CAT B15 Q" to "What Would You Include In The Perfect Smartphone?". The Q is another evolution in the B15 series.

  10. Udayveer Singh
    January 28, 2015 at 12:15 pm

    You just need the Google's Project ARA.

  11. jb
    January 28, 2015 at 2:04 am

    Seems like everyone else was calling Norton cuz when I called the line was busy!