I just got a Motorola PEBL. It’s one of the sexiest, best-designed phones I’ve ever seen. It’s actually one of the best designed anythings I’ve ever seen. The one-touch opening mechanism is engineering bliss, and the soft -touch plastic feels wonderful in your hand. That said, it doesn’t really do anything that my previous phone, the Motorola RAZR didn’t. And since my RAZR is smaller, I’m switching back.
It got me thinking, though, about what I need in a cellphone. Most phones have the send/receive-calls bit pretty well nailed down by now, and that’s good; I can check my Gmail with my phone, and because I don’t actually want my work e-mail with me everywhere, I don’t mind most handsets’ lack of secure server compatibility. Most next-gen models support high-speed data transfer like 3G and EV-DO. Connectivity: check. Manufacturers are also taking steps to integrate cameras, MP3 players–even TV, in some cases–into their products. Multimedia: check. Battery life is only getting better, and very small phones are easy to find. The state of our cellphone union: strong.
So what do I want? I want a friggin’ LED flashlight. For real. Yes, I know about the software programs you can download that make your screen flash–I’ve got ’em all. And yes, I’ve also heard of those “slim” adhesive add-ons, but there’s no way I’m sticking that monstrosity onto the back of my phone. I want an LED integrated into the casing of my phone so that I can find my keys when I drop them in the movie theater or annoy my sister when she won’t stop giving me advice about my fear of comittment. I know you can do this, cellphone companies; Nokia did it a few years ago with a ruggedized, Europe-only model, but for some reason no trend arose. The standard mobile-phone lithium-ion battery voltage, 3.7 volts, is more than enough power to drive an LED. The diode itself takes up almost no space, and the power-regulating hardware could even easily fit onto the crowded cellphone circuit boards. So make it happen. I’ll be your first customer. And while I have your ear, a bottle opener would be killer. Thanks.
What do you want in your next cellphone, blog readers? —Joe Brown