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Wednesday, September 20, 2006

My dream mobile phone

Update: finally I settle with a Motorola w205, a simple mobile phone without any unnecessary gimmicks.

I already have a black RAZR, but I don't feel that it's my dream phone. So here is a list of requirements for a mobile phone that someday I would like to own (oh, how old fashioned I am!):

1. No camera. Not a single pixel. I don't need such a built-in camera. I'm not a photographer anyway. And if I need to take pictures, I still have (and love) my digital camera. In case I forgot to bring my camera while witnessing a beautiful moment, I choose to let this moment lives in my mind.

2. No ring tone. I don't like customizable ring tones. And I prefer to have my phone just vibrates so that I wouldn't accidentally shock and annoy somebody else due to an incoming call. For alarm purpose, I still have a cheap radio-synchronized clock (with a very annoying alarm, which is important) at my disposal.

3. No music player. I hardly have time to listen to music from a normal MP3 player, let alone from a mobile phone. If I travel, I prefer to read books. Or to think about anything. If I really really need to have some music, the basic USB-memory player is usually sufficient. My music collection is very limited anyway.

4. No radio. Same reason as above.

5. No Bluetooth. At home, the only device which has Bluetooth support is this RAZR. So what's the point of having it if I could not exchange anything with any other gadgets?

6. No advanced connectivity, either hardware or software. No WAP, GPRS, UMTS or any other cryptic abbreviations that laymen hardly can understand. Except for trying WAP for the first time (back then in 2001) and just out of curiosity, I never touched it anymore. I have no urgent need to always have latest access to any web sites or my e-mails. I'm not a road warrior.

7. No Java. No games. No entertainment stuff. If I really really need to kill time by playing something, I could still practise e.g. chess in my mind (I'm a very bad player, but you get the idea).

8. No PIM applet. I am not a busy manager. My schedule is very simple and I seldom forget anything important. A simple clock and a normal monthly calendar could still be useful, but not more.

9. No color display, if that reduces both the price and the current consumption.

In exchange for the above, I'd expect these:

(a) Decent battery, and thus less often to be charged. Ideally even only once a month. In this modern world, we can have lots of different types of chargers. It would be too hassle to even deal with these chargers every now and then.

(b) Usable interface. No endless items in the menu. No flashing but useless animations. No need to tap some buttons hundred times just to start writing an SMS. No automatic default to T9 or some other text prediction system that can't be turned off.

(c) Excellent form factor. Not too small and not a large as a brick. Something physically similar to RAZR is not too bad. I prefer clamshell model because I like it and I think it's more practical to use.

(d) Can be used to place and receive a call :-)

With this no-music, no-web, no-fancy-stuff, no-singing-and-dancing requirements, I guess I have to go back to an old model. But which one then? What would you recommend?


Anonymous said...

Get them to build you one with the python interpreter so you can add your alarm. It doesn't do most of what you wanted a phone to do, but I'm sure it's going to make you happy anyway.

Have fun,

Anonymous said...

And provide a link to the port-o-rotary

Anonymous said...

What you want is a Nokia 6310.

It fits almost perfectly what you want.

I Love it for the resistance (i let it fall almost daily :/), exceptionaly long battery life and great sound.

Anonymous said...

U need a time's machine! :P

Anonymous said...

I think this is the one for you - Motorola Motofone -

Janne said...

I'm always amazed that people complain about "unneeded features" in phones. Don't need some particular feature? Then don't use it! My phone (Nokia 9300 Communicator) has a Golf-game in it. It does not bother me one bit, since I don't use it, and there is no way I could accidentally stumble in it. Or how about Bluetooth? So you don't need it. Suppose you had two identical phones, but one had bluetooth, and the other one did not, would you choose the one without bluetooth? Why? How does the Bluetooth make the phone worse?

That said, what you need is the Nokia 1110 or 1112

Janne said...

"It's mind-boggling how so many people actually want simple barebone phones that actually works and easy to use, yet the phone manufacturers never listen and kept pushing for more "features" that we don't need (but they think we should need)."

Like I said, Nokia 1110 and/or 1112 are exactly the kind of phone that you want. Just the basic features, and nothing more

Ariya Hidayat said...

Thomas Zander: A very nice tip, thanks! Seems that all SE J models are "simple phones". Perhaps J stands for Junior :-)

Matthias Granberry: Already read it sometime ago. This surely a fun project, but no thanks.

Ariya Hidayat said...

Jose Celestino, Andrei, Janne: Thanks for the tips. I'll check them soon.

Janne: I hope what I wrote isn't categorized as complaint. I just want to find a phone that meets my requirements, along with the reasons why. I don't think these extra features are bad, I just think they are not for me.

And if I don't need Bluetooth, I would just pick a phone without Bluetooth (if possible). Old fashion, isn't it? But that is what my brain tells me (I don't have problems if others think differently).

The argument "don't use it" is unfortunately suboptimal. If the phone does not have extra bells-and-whistles, it will be lighter, it can have a simpler interface and/or more room so the manufacturer can put a better battery, and it would possibly cost less.

Anonymous said...


Although the last entry in the list is from over a year ago, I think the subject is still relevant.

With most of the requirements I fully agree. A mobile phone should be designed for making phone calls, not to impress with 'features'. For instance, there is no need for colours at all - often it will make reading the display more difficult. Long menus with useless options are an annoyance as well. For instance, when you are in a telephone conference and you want to mute your microphone for a moment, that function should be accessible instantaneously. Only at point 5, I disagree. When you have collected a large set of numbers in your phonebook, it is most desirable to have the possibility to make a back-up elsewhere, i.e., on your PC, and the other way around, to add numbers to the phonebook. Bluetooth is a technique that makes that very easy.

With respect to the Sony-Ericsson J220i: I own that phone and it is not bad at all. At the very least, it is a well-functioning, *rather* simple phone and it is very good value for the money. It does not comply with a lot of the requirements, however.
Apart from that, it has an annoying 'feature' in that it locks very soon after you touched the last key. Also, some of the keys are extremely small, making mistakes easy - a decent keyboard should be in the requirements list for the dream phone too, I think. The battery of this phone lasts rather long (for about a week if you don't make any calls), but not as long as the battery of my company supplied Nokia 6021.

Some Nokia models may come close to your requirements as well (1110, 1112, 1200, 1600).

The problem is, I think, that two groups of users are dominant in the market:
- youngsters who want lots of 'features' and use their phone to show their 'personality' :-))
- businesses, who may feel a bit like you, but at the same time want to please their employees and don't worry about a few quid extra cost.


Anonymous said...

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