(This is a guest post by Sumit Mundhada, a 23 year old engineer and a mobile maniac.)
Here is a quick look on the developments in the mobile phone industry during the year 2010 and some of our predictions about the things that 2011 might have in-store for mobile savvy guys.
Year 2010 for the Mobile Industry:
The year 2010 was a year of revolution for the cell phone industry. People kept expecting more and more from the small piece of technology in their pockets and the year just kept fulfilling their demands. It was the year of fire-breathing Snapdragons and eye-candy displays like the Retinas and the Super AMOLEDs. If some tech-freaks had their “Desire” come true this year then some of them had the chance to get the whole “Galaxy” in their hands.
If some manufacturers emerged as new market giants and strengthened their positions, some of the old bulls found that they cannot take their success for granted and they will have to improvise constantly to stay in the competition. Better late than never they understood the Darwin’s theory that only the fittest will survive here.
Now that the year is over we have the year 2011 to look forward to. Keeping in mind that the healthy competition between these giants will only benefit the customers, lets look what we can and what we should expect from this upcoming year.
Expectations from the year 2011:
More optical zooms and more Xenons
The year 2010 gave us the best camera on a Smartphone in the form of Nokia N8. Many said that it is a replacement for their point and shoot camera while some complained about the phone lacking an optical zoom. The megapixels on the camera specs kept on increasing and a 5mp camera was common to see even on a mid-range phone. What they lacked was a Xenon flash as the dual LEDs were not capable to deliver in low light conditions. Some of them didn’t even have a flash.
Its not that we never had these features on a Smartphone. The likes of Samsung (Pixon 12) and Nokia (N93i) had optical zoom and the Sony Ericsson’s K810i had xenon from ages. The sacrifice of few megapixels at the cost of optical zoom and xenon flash would be far more than just welcomed. Even if the phone is not a dedicated camera phone we can still expect a xenon at least.
Last year we literally witnessed a war between the mobile operating systems. Lack of desired OS on the phone turned out to be a major deal breaker for many. At the end, Google’s Android seemed to be the winner cause it increased its consumer base and fan base day by day as it had all the Google offerings served pretty well. As the year progressed the Motorolas, The HTCs, The Samsungs, and others came out proudly boasting the presence of Google’s Android on their handsets. Android was indeed gaining popularity.
The only issue with these top-notch Android handsets was that they came with a hefty price tag. There were some mid-ranged android phones but they didn’t give the pleasure of using Android as on other high-end phones. So we can expect some good mobile phones laden with Android in the price range of 15K to 20K. A decent android phone with a speedy processor and a screen with good size and resolution should not be termed as “over-expectation” in the coming year.
Improved Battery Life
Battery life is one of the most important features of a mobile phone and sadly it was also the most neglected feature in the last year. The owners of Desire, iPhone4 and Galaxy kept complaining about the battery life. One has all the rights to complain if he is paying more than 25 Thousand bucks and still running out of battery within a day. With the advent of new technology everyday, a regular customer can expect a good battery life on his handset so that he doesn’t have to bother about the tiny battery bars on his mobile screen.
Prompt Software Updates
Someone has stated it very correctly that a piece of software becomes obsolete as soon as you start using it. It could not have been more applicable than in case of the cell phone industry. Software updates, to a great extent, provide manufacturers a chance of giving their old models the latest burst of technology and to rectify the bugs or shortcomings in their latest models.
But sadly, these software updates are not prompt most of the times. The best example would be Sony Ericsson’s Xperia X10. The Xperia users were obsessed with Donuts (Android 1.6) while the Desire users were enjoying Froyo (Android 2.2). That’s not at all expected from a high-end phone like Xperia. Even the Galaxy S received its Froyo update after a very long time.
An even better approach towards software updates will be to individually update the most frequently used application on the phone like the web browser, music player, messaging etc. Wouldn’t it be great to be able to update the browser only rather than waiting for the complete system update (Yes Nokia, we are talking to you). It will greatly help the developers too as they will be able to deliver on time updates.
Few Cherries on the cake
Now that we have the freedom to expect, lets give our imagination a last bit of stretch. As almost all handsets are 3G enabled nowadays we can expect the 3G data charges to go down next year. We know the service providers have paid a handsome amount of money to get the 3G License but still a little discount can be expected.
We will certainly like to see the latest smartphones in Indian market as soon as they are launched in American and European markets. The iPhone4 is still not available in India. Many models from Motorola, HTC and Samsung are refrained from Indian markets or they make their arrival very late here. Even the latest WP7 phones are hard to get in Indian stores.
Another welcome change would be more of contract basis phones as we get in other countries. Yes it seems far-stretched but certainly not impossible. Imagine yourself holding an iPhone4 by paying around Rs. 1500-2000 per month. And last but by no means least we are eagerly waiting for MeeGo and the Dual core processors too. Lets hope that year 2011 turns out to be even better than 2010.
We will like to conclude by saying that by no means are we harsh on the developers. These are just our expectations. And how can we call them expectations if someone is able to fulfill them. So the list would have been incomplete without some far-stretched demands. In fact we really appreciate the hard work of these tech-freaks from the bottom of our heart, because without them we might have been still using black and white screens or VGA cameras on a cell phone. We expect from those who we know are capable of delivering. Keep up the good work guys.
What do you expect from the handset manufacturers and telecom operators during the year 2011?