If you’re here reading this article, it’s probably because you A.) love phones or B.) love dogs and mistakenly thought this website actually had something to do with dogs. Maybe both, but we’re going to assume that you A.) love phones. I love phones, that’s for sure, but as much as I love phones there’s usually a thing or two I can say about each and every phone I’ve owned I would change if given the chance. No matter what platform I’m using or manufacturer has made the device, there’s always something that I would change.
Fortunately, there’s a lot more that I like about smartphones than things I don’t like, but there’s still quite a bit to discuss when it comes to making smartphones better. Today I’ve decided to discuss the top 5 things I would change about smartphones, most of which I’ve described in various articles previously - but I’ve decided to condense them into one convenient list.
Within the last couple of years, iOS has taken a pretty drastic change when it comes to its design. Earlier versions of iOS (6 and below) focused more on textured design with some depth. iOS 7 and above focuses more on colors and a flatter, simpler design. I initially ditched my iPhone 4S when iOS 7 was released because I was so displeased with the design change, but I’ve recently returned to the platform because of its user interface and my own investments in the platform (purchased applications). I am still not terribly pleased with the way iOS 7 looks, and although it’s not something that I consider a deal-breaker anymore, it’s definitely something that I would change. I preferred the way iOS 6 looked, but I do acknowledge that iOS needed some sort of change of pace in design; it’s just the direction they went with the redesign was one I would have taken.
This is a total mundane issue, but it’s an issue that I come across a lot. There are a lot of situations where I end up listening to music through YouTube, and the official application has yet to allow its users to listen to a YouTube video by having it just run in the background. You have to have the application active in order to listen. While this makes sense if you’re using YouTube for the actual video portion, there are a lot of scenarios where people might want to just listen to the audio of the video instead. Google should enable an option to play YouTube audio in the background. Until then, third party alternatives will have to suffice.
Nothing bothers me more than having unavailable space on a phone due to applications that I can’t get rid of. Some Android devices are able to uninstall certain bloatware applications from the get-go, but generally speaking, if you have an Android device from a specific carrier or manufacturer you’re going to have a lot of bloatware pre-installed that you might not ever use throughout the lifetime of your device. Users should have the ability to get rid of these applications without having to root the device.
Although the situation seems to be getting better, unlocking phones still have quite a bit of rules to follow in order to make it happen. I feel like getting a phone unlocked (after you own it, regardless of the amount of time that you own it or the status of your actual account with a company) shouldn’t be as hard as it is. You may have to wait for up to a year on a prepaid device to get your phone unlocked, and if you are a postpaid user and your account is not in good standing you can’t unlock your phone (even if the phone itself is entirely paid off). Like I said, I’m glad that it’s not as difficult to get a phone unlocked, but I still think it’s more difficult than it needs to be.
It’s very rare these days to come across a flagship device that is not crossing phablet territory. A phablet is described as being a phone that has a 5-inch screen or larger; most flagships are at least at a 5-inch screen. Even Apple, who previously swore they would never go any larger than a 3.5-inch display, is cutting it dangerously close with the iPhone 6 by getting to a 4.7-inch screen size - and that’s the regular model, not the iPhone 6 Plus which features a 5.5-inch display. At this point, anything below a 5.5-inch display could probably be used as a major selling point since it’s so rare. I get that phablets are popular and no longer a niche feature, but there are still those of us out there that want to use a smartphone easily with one hand. Our options seem to be growing slimmer every year.
Honorable Mention: As an honorable mention, I asked my mom what she would change about phones if she was able to change one thing. Her answer: Bigger font. When I informed her that such a change was already an option on phones, she continues on to say that she wants the entire phone to feature a larger font, not just certain stock apps. Fair enough.
Readers, what would you change about smartphones today? It can be a change you want in your phone, a platform, a design, or whatever - share your opinions with us in the comments below!