Mobile phones have become a constant companion. Even on extended hikes it’s quite common to see people with solar chargers on their packs, keeping their phones powered up for any given moment of rest. But for all that people love about their phones, there’s more than a few things people have come to hate. It’s easy to get tired of some problems that just never seem to improve.
10: The lack of innovation
There was a brief moment when smartphones really were innovative. The competition between Android and iOS was producing some amazing things. And then somewhere down the line it all stopped. Most new features in mobile operating systems are more about taking away user choice rather than helping it. Reveals of new features are often demands to be excited rather than reasons to actually feel it.
It’s hard to imagine at this point. But there was a time when there weren’t even methods in place to buy apps for smartphones. The idea that one could download an app and then purchase things from within it would have seemed over the top. But today it’s become an annoying trend. There’s tons of freemium games out there which start out entertaining but quickly begin to beg for money.
8: Not invented here syndrome
There’s really only two big players in the world of mobile operating systems. But neither of them are very enthusiastic about working with shared standards. Both want features which are unique to their platform. But in doing so they often forget that people with different brands of phones still want to talk to each other. Phones were first created around the idea of standards for communication. Every phone manufacturer agreed on how their devices would connect to the phone line. But over time the idea of agreed upon standards has become more and more strained. If Apple or Google didn’t invent it themselves then they’re often loathe to use it.
7: Forced software upgrades
Software updates used to be exciting things which could deliver new experiences. But these days they often seem to be long tedious processes which don’t do very much. The operating system creators seem to think that everyone’s fine with updating their phones, software to communicate with their phones and any number of other things on a recurring basis. But it gets very tiring very quickly. Worse, it’s not uncommon for programs to suddenly stop working if those upgrades aren’t installed.
6: Lack of radio support
Many people aren’t even aware that the majority of smartphones have radios inside them. But of those who are, it’s often an essential safety feature. During an emergency the internet and even cell phone services are almost sure to go out. But radio service is incredibly resilient. If someone’s caught in a natural disaster than they should be able to use their phone’s radio. But most companies block access to the radio. While it’s not certain, the general theory is that they’re doing it to push sales of digital media from their stores.
5: The long forgotten battery
Most people have noticed that phones are becoming slimmer. But they also might notice battery life is getting shorter as well. A slim phone is often created by cutting down on battery capacity. Even 1/8th of an inch would often be enough to provide an extra hour or two. But phone companies refuse to accept that people prefer a reliable phone over a very small cosmetic difference.
4: External storage
There was a time when most phones would accept a micro SD card. One could then install apps on it, store movies and songs and generally get all the features of a phone with more memory. Most phone companies have realized that they can’t sell the higher priced luxury models if people can simply toss a cheap SD card into their phone and get most of the benefits for a smaller price. The end result has been increasing scarcity of SD card support.
3: Physical controls
Many people don’t like physical keyboards or controls. But there’s still quite a few people out there who do. But there’s almost no phones on the market with physical keyboards or gamepads. This leaves people who need faster typing and gamers in a position where they need to deal with clunky Bluetooth based solutions which simply don’t provide a natural feel.
2: Computer compatibility
Apple and Google both make operating systems and have branded computers. As such it’s not much of a surprise that they’ve tied their mobile operating systems into them to some degree. It’s often not a huge deal. But it’s happening commonly enough to become an issue. For example, the only way to write software for an iPhone is by using an Apple made computer. This isn’t for any technical reason. It’s simply artificially locked down to OSX in order to push sales.
1: Phone companies
The service providers will probably be the worst part of smartphones for some time to come. They’re often the biggest reason why some features never seem to appear on phones. For example, they were the reason why tethering took so long to appear on most smartphones. And most people are more than familiar with how phone companies use fuzzy descriptions to hide limitations they force into data plans.