July 30, 2003 | Category:

What I Want From A Mobile Phone

My mobile phone is very basic. There, I said it. It doesn’t have polyphonic ringtones (or even customisable ringtones), video messaging, downloadable java games, or interchangeable fascias. I know it’s almost a crime in certain places to not have a phone that is on the bleeding edge of technology, and that’s why I’ve admitted my guilt

However, my reasons for not getting all these features is simple: I don’t want to spend money so I can continue to spend money.

Think about the above features (and most others being added to modern mobiles). While they might be great ideas (or not), they all involve paying out more money to use them. You pay X amount for every game, video message, ringtone or fascia you want. So you pay to have a phone equipped with the feature and then more to use it. Why, thank you mobile companies for recognising my plight: I had all that money going to waste.

The truth is that there are features that I want in a mobile phone. Useful features that, unfortunately, won’t earn the communications companies any extra revenue per usage. As far as I’m aware, these features don’t currently exist:

  1. A USB port – This is key to the whole thing. I want a USB port shoved on the side of my phone to be able to access the SIM card. Reasons for this will be more apparent in a moment, but access to a cheap widely available port is necessary.
  2. A synchronisable address book – Ever lost a friends details or new number when changing phone? The ability to synchronise number between your SIM card and PC would be invaluable to do this. With the right software and the press of a button you could easily be keeping up to date. In fact, store in the right format and you could use the same information for your phone, mail client, LDAP server etc.
  3. SMS message transfers – How many times has your SIM’s inbox been full? On most phones, you can expect around 20 message slots (although this varies wildly). Once you save all those nice messages from your significant other, funny stuff from friends, and other potentially important messages, you’ve potentially stuffed or limited the available slots on your phone. Wouldn’t it be nice if you could transfer them all to your computer for posterity, thereby storing them forever without hogging up your phone? I think so. Perhaps of less value, but still good, would be the ability to prepare a message on a small notepad program on your PC and transfer it for transmission on your phone. Spell checking, no limits on your keyboard, and an endless number of editors.
  4. Dictionary updating – I’d kill for the ability to add words to my phones predictive texting dictionary. There are so many words that I use that aren’t in the standard dictionary because not many people need them. Place names are generally very localised, but common within that region. If I could simply add them to the dictionary via my PC, I could potentially save hours of time per year lost when trying to mung them together using predicted text blocks. Very useful, and that’s without getting onto slightly more radical ideas like passing local words around local network cells.

These are the features I’d pay more money for. Simple things, yes. Powerful, certainly. Will it happen? Not while the companies don’t see any more money from it.