New year hopes for mobile technology

What do you want in 2014?
Image: Talk Android
With the product cycles for this year's mobile devices coming to an end, many are already looking forward to 2014. We've heard rumours of a metallic Galaxy S5, rumours of a larger iPhone, and even seen leaks of the alleged successor to the HTC One. I've shared with you what I think we will see on spec sheets in 2014, from an OEM perspective. But this time I'm taking a different approach, a more consumer-centric approach. Once a new device has been launched, we normally say things like "I wish they made this like this", or "I wish they didn't include this" when reviewing devices. As consumers, we have our own preferences, hopes and dare I say, expectations with regards to the mobile devices we carry on our person at all times. This post won't focus on one particular device or brand specifically, but on the industry in general. Things that I hope I'll see more of (or in one particular example, less of) in 2014 in the mobile industry.

More wireless charging
I know some people love wireless charging, while others aren't too impressed with it because technically, it's not really wireless, but me? I love it. And I've never even used wireless charging yet! I'm getting the Nexus 5 together with a powerbank with wireless charging, and I can't wait to try it out. The idea of being able to place your phone down on a mat/stand and have the device charge, and then to just pick it up when you need it, is just exciting to me. No more fiddling with a cable, trying to get it into the port, and since I'll be using a powerbank, I won't even be restricted to a power outlet if I need to charge my phone. Sure, I'll need to charge my powerbank, but that won't be a problem. I can just charge it overnight or when I'm out during the day. I hope more OEMs make wireless charging a standard in their devices. It may not be true wireless charging, but it's definitely a step in the right direction.
Place device on charger. Walk away. Image: Tech Radar
Software optimisation
You know what makes cool software features pointless? When they don't work well. Nobody has as many software features in their devices as Samsung, so I'll use their devices as examples. Now Samsung have pretty much perfected the S-Pen and the related software features. No other OEM has anything in the same category as Samsung when it comes to stylus support. That is a good example of software optimisation. A bad example on the other hand, would be Samsung's My Magazine app. It's laggy, sometimes comes to a complete halt while scrolling, and is just a bad experience all together. In 2014, I hope OEMs focus more on perfecting fewer software features in their devices that give a unique and one-of-a-kind experience (like the S-Pen features), instead of including more features that don't work well just for the sake of it (My Magazine).


More "smart" in smartphone
Our phones are incredible little pieces of technology. They fit in out pockets, but are capable of doing nearly everything our desktop computers can do. But there's always room for improvement, and I'd like to see more smart in our smartphones in 2014. Google Now should be the core of each Android phone. Not just because it's a Google service, but because it is quite easily one of the best Google services we have. The Nexus 5 pretty much has Google Now as the home screen and Touchless Controls on the Moto X - its most prominent feature - is an extension of Google Now. But it's somewhat "hidden" in other flagship devices. The HTC One needs a double tap of the home button and the Galaxy S4 needs a long press of home followed by tapping the Google icon. Chances are, many users have never even activated Google Now because they don't know it exists in their phone. OEMs should really, really use Google Now to their advantage like Motorola did. Active Display and Motorola Assist on the Moto X are also good examples of features that respond to the phone's surroundings. Aviate Launcher as well, a home screen that changes based on time of day or your current location. More contextually aware smartphones in 2014 would be cool.
Google Now should be the core of Android. Image: Android Central
No cameras on tablets
Do I even need to elaborate on this? While I'm sure OEMs will continue to put cameras on their tablets, it's just something I hope they would stop doing. Taking a picture on a tablet is clunky, cumbersome and just wrong.
Do you want to look like this in public? Image: imgur
E-mail addresses become primary contact information instead of phone numbers
This is something a little closer to home, and may not apply to others who live elsewhere. It also has nothing to do with OEMs or any other tech company, but with the consumers. Here in Malaysia, we still exchange phone numbers when meeting new people. Not that there's anything wrong with that. It's just that I find e-mail addresses much more useful than phone numbers. With e-mail addresses you can of course, send e-mail, you can also use Hangouts for instant messaging as well as video calling, and you can find each other on social media. If I meet new people, it's unlikely that they will be calling me for any reason, especially if we meet under professional circumstances. When I have lab equipment suppliers asking for my phone number, I give my e-mail instead, which has sufficed so far. I hope more people will see the extra value an e-mail address has, and use it as their primary contact info rather than a phone number.

Will we see any of these next year? Probably not. Maybe a few devices with wireless charging, and maybe some software optimisation (like Samsung promised), but I don't expect to have these wished implemented in full next year.

What do you guys hope for in 2014 from the mobile industry?

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