Smartphones are getting better and better - bigger and better screens, faster processors, higher resolution cameras, and just plain awesome designs. Why is it that, with all this technology that is being used to improve one category of phones, the quality and features of messaging phones seem to be either staying the same or even getting worse? Before smartphones, messaging phones had the 3-megapixel cameras and the AMOLED screens. Now it seems that the technology it took to have those specs are being saved for the smartphones and the messaging phones are getting stuck with 1.3-megapixel cameras and 2.5mm headphone jacks. The "loyalists" who refuse to get a smartphone because they realize that they don't need one or they think $200 for a phone is just plain too expensive, are trying desperately to maintain their stance that a messaging phone is just as useful as a smartphone. Unfortunately, it's quickly becoming a losing battle.
Yeah, messaging phones may be cheaper, but at what cost? I read comments all the time about how a 2.5mm headphone jack isn't that big of a deal because you can still buy them online so I should stop whining about it. Seriously, how many people are going to go online, search for the earbuds and order them just so they can listen to music on a phone that doesn't even have that great of a music player, much less a simple way to get music onto the phone that doesn't require a "pro" to figure out? I thought that this was a consumer-driven world. If I want a 3.5mm headphone jack, I expect to get one. Or if I choose to get a touchscreen device, I expect to have available to me one that doesn't require me to say "well, it is a resistive touchscreen after all" every time it malfunctions. Don't even get me started on web browsing, cameras, and e-mail. (Since when did we allow a 1.3 or 2-megapixel camera to be "okay" on a device that we use our hard-earned money to pay for?)
Now, I know the other side of the argument. "You get what you pay for. When you only pay $20 for a device, what do you expect?" You know what I expect? I expect a device that works. When I select the web browser, I expect to be able to browse the web, not slowly meander through it. When I press the camera button, I expect to be able to take a picture, not a snapshot that's pretty much useless anywhere else besides my phone. And when I choose to listen to music on my phone, I expect to do it without having to fight for half an hour just to figure out how to actually get my music onto the darn thing.
So what is the point of this article? Is it just to whine about messaging phones and how it's not fair that they aren't given as much attention as smartphones? No. Well, actually partly yes, but there's more to it than that. This is my formal declaration that I refuse to accept that this is the best that cell phone manufacturers can do. I refuse to accept that there is no reasonable way for them to make 3.5mm a standard for headphone jacks on messaging phones. I refuse to accept that a 2-megapixel camera with no flash and no autofocus is the best they can do. And these 1.3-megapixel cameras are a sorry excuse for being just plain lazy and careless. There, I said it. Samsung, LG, Sharp, Pantech, Nokia, Motorola - it's time for you to either step up or step out. And don't give me the excuse that it costs more to have better specs. The Palm Pixi Plus, BlackBerry Curve, and BlackBerry Pearl are all free right now from their respective carriers and an Apple iPhone 3GS is only $99 from AT&T, which is the same price as the Sharp FX and Samsung Gravity T and cheaper than the LG Vu Plus.
Is anyone with me? Consumers should demand higher quality from messaging phones. I'm not asking for multi-touch support on every messaging phone from now on, but at least give us something we can use.
(Image via MuddyCreekTech)