Hey, mobile makers! Time to wake up or die
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Hey, mobile makers! Time to wake up or die

You’ve had 30 years to perfect your product. So where’s the perfection? – Part I

brunch Updated: Jun 09, 2018 22:34 IST
Rajiv Makhni
Rajiv Makhni
Hindustan Times
Mobile makers,30 years,Indian brands
Despite all the tech required to waterproof the phone being available, most brands don’t do it

Dear mobile phone manufacturers... Hope you’ve been doing well. I know a lot of you haven’t, and for that I feel bad. But then, it’s mostly your own fault. There is a prediction out there that All Indian brands of mobiles will be dead in six months, and many others will succumb right after.

India is and will continue to be the most exciting market in the world. Unfortunately, the product you’re selling still sucks. Big Time! The mobile phone has been around now for about 30 years. Enough time to get it perfect! Enough time to get your act together! Here’s why the mobile phone, the single largest piece of technology to have ever sold, still sucks.


A hybrid slot is completely useless

This one has turned into the single greatest scam run by phone brands. Any brand that doesn’t have an add-on storage slot should absolutely be boycotted. You can’t still charge us 10 times the price of a MicroSD card for extra internal storage. Next, hybrid slots. There should be a special place in hell for the person who came up with that one. The minimum you need is a true dual SIM card slot and a storage memory slot. Have you ever used your own phone? Have you realised how freaking stupid a hybrid slot is?


Corning Gorilla Glass is a must for all phones

Notch or bezel free or fat border screen – a personal choice now. But the fact that a phone can still be sold without Corning Gorilla Glass tech is simply unpardonable. A broken screen is the most heart-breaking thing to a mobile phone user. You’ve got to give a one-time screen replacement guarantee to all your users, like Samsung does.

Crap battery

Battery technology is still a weak point

Batteries on phones are still terrible. Yes, we have quick charge, dash charge, ultra power save mode, but they just prove the exact problem – that the inherent battery technology is a huge weak point. Almost any phone in the market loses about 50 per cent battery capacity in the first year of usage. Terrible for our 24x7 companion.

Sealed phones

Yes, there was a time when you made phones that were not sealed tighter than a hermetically sealed coffin. Batteries could be replaced, slots were easy to get to (no pin required) and scratched up back covers could be replaced. The standard now is a fully sealed phone because of aesthetics, form factor and waterproofing. The irony – 90 per cent of phones are still not water and dust proof.

Water and dust proof

Yes, all the tech required to seal a phone tight from water and dust damage is available. Many companies have adapted to it. It’s you laggards that try to save a penny and still sell phones that go kaput with one small drop of water. And still have the audacity to write in fine print that water-damaged phones will not be repaired even under warranty. Sheesh!

Finger vs face

A fingerprint scanner is a better tech option

My advice to all users is to use neither of these unlock technologies. But between the two, a fingerprint scanner is way better tech – easier, more efficient, more secure. With Vivo putting the fingerprint scanner underneath the screen (kudos for doing it before Apple or Samsung), there is absolutely no reason for a phone to ever be sold without one!

Service centres

India is the most exciting and also the most gullible mobile phone market. Launch a phone with an aggressive price, give four full page ads in the newspaper, announce a flash sale and voila – you’re in the Indian market. And then starts the excruciating pain of trying to get that phone serviced when it goes bad (and it will). The biggest online players in our country have the worst service. There should be a law in this country: for every X number of phones sold, there should be X number of service centres. Seven years’ rigorous imprisonment for those that break this law.

Flash sales, camera and optics, materials and form factor, wireless charging, security and privacy, 3.5mm headphone jacks, celebrity endorsements and about 12 more. That’s my list for part 2 of this open letter. Yes, Mr Phone Manufacturer, I’m just getting warmed up. We have a lot of work to do together!

(Part 2 of this column will appear on June 24, 2018.)

Rajiv Makhni is managing editor, Technology, NDTV, and the anchor of Gadget Guru, Cell Guru and Newsnet 3

Techilicious appears every fortnight

From HT Brunch, June 10, 2018

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First Published: Jun 09, 2018 20:01 IST