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  1.    #1  
    Well, not quite. More like my own personal ideas for a next-gen smartphone. I posted this in another thread, but figured I'd start my own thread on it. Here's a concept design I threw together today (based on ideas I've had for a while now)...

    http://www.hipnetic.com/geek/treo_new.gif

    If I hear some good ideas, I can modify my designs (or come up with a variety of designs). Let me know what you think...

    Scott
  2. #2  
    Neat idea, but it looks almost identical to the Nokia 9210 communicator. Was that your influence?

    http://www.nokia.com/nokia/0,,145,00.html
  3.    #3  
    Originally posted by Appleman
    Neat idea, but it looks almost identical to the Nokia 9210 communicator. Was that your influence?

    http://www.nokia.com/nokia/0,,145,00.html
    That was definitely my biggest influence, though the size would be quite a bit smaller. Here's a comment I made in another thread (http://discussion.treocentral.com/tc...i&pagenumber=2) where I went into more details about my ideas:
    I think it would be great to have a device along the lines of one of those Motorola thumbboard pagers, Danger HipTop (except with a flip-up lid instead of twistout lid, since it would still hopefully be a touchscreen), or a Nokia 9210i (except smaller).

    In fact, this is really the ideal device, IMO. Take a 9210i and make it smaller. When closed, it looks and acts just like a phone. It would have a small B&W display, hard phone keypad, up/down button, select button, etc. on the outside. The outside display would be tied into the OS, though, so you could scroll through your contacts. It would use predictive text with the phone keypad so you could still jump to one of your contacts using first initial, last name. Additionally, the outside display could show you alarms for incoming mail, SMS messages, a calendar appointment, etc. When you want to do some heavy-duty stuff, browse the web, or compose emails, you flip it open and use the thumbboard. The display would be a custom landscape screen (480x320 wouldn't be bad). If they wanted to get real fancy, they could design the hinge to not only open like a clamshell but also twist, ala the CLIE NR/NX/NZ-series so that you could use it in a traditional PDA (portrait) mode with a virtual Graffiti area. And, of course, build in a camera w/flash.

    Let's face it, what I'm describing is not impossible given current technology. Sony's NR-series has been out for a long time. Nokia's 9210 (whatever the original model was) has been out even longer. I've been wanting to mock-up some sketches of my dream device for a long time and just haven't gotten around to it. Hopefully you all get the idea.
    Scott
  4. #4  
    Thanks for posting that, I haven't come across the other thread yet, just started my Treocentralling for the day

    I agree the technlogy is there, but I don't think it is in the small form factor that you want. Even that Sony that you mentioned is quite bulky and heavy. But I like the idea of having a dedicated phone, a keyboard with a landscape screen and the flip around screen with graffiti.
  5.    #5  
    As you can tell from my pics, I changed my original thinking and added a color screen on the outside, too. I did this because of the camera. This way you can snap pictures with the device closed and use the outer screen as a viewfinder. Not immediately apparent in these pictures are the following features:
    - Removable battery.
    - Replaceable color faceplates.
    - SDIO slot.
    - OS5/ARM.
    - I'm probably missing something.

    Other ideas for cutting down the costs would be:
    - B&W screen on outside.
    - Lower inside screen resolution (e.g. - 480x320). This would also allow you to make the device shorter as a phone.

    Scott
  6. #6  
    I like it. Did you ever own a Psion Revo by chance?

    I always have and still do, love the Revo form factor.
  7.    #7  
    Originally posted by lynch
    I like it. Did you ever own a Psion Revo by chance?

    I always have and still do, love the Revo form factor.
    No I didn't. I don't really know too much about them other than that they have a clamshell design. I know that I never cared for the clamshell Windows CE devices. With the advent of wireless, though, I see a much bigger need for a thumbboard over using a stylus input method, since you're more apt to do emails and instant messaging. There's also a bigger need for a higher res (at least width-wise) screen, since you'd also want to do web browsing.

    One thing I'll say, though, is that I think that the ideal keyboard needs to be small enough to be used with your thumbs, while big enough to be comfortable. I think that the original Blackberry device (the one shaped more like a pager, not their newer devices with the bigger square screens) has a great thumbboard. The HipTop also has a nice big thumbboard. But the Windows CE devices and, I think, the Nokia Communicator and Psion Revo's seem to be too big to be used with your thumbs, which would require laying them on a desk and pecking at them more like a traditional keyboard (though still too small to be touch-typed on like a regular keyboard). Am I wrong about this? To me, that sort of design is too much of a compromise in both directions. I think the ideal sized thumbboard is more like the original Blackberry or the HipTop.

    With that said, I made some changes to my designs (haven't put them up yet, I'll post here when I do). My thumbboard was probably too big. Also, the screen size was probably unrealistic to squeeze into an acceptably sized device (and, as a result, the size of the device in "phone" mode was fairly big). I modified my design to make the screen 480x320 instead of 640x320, as well as a couple of other tweaks to make it a bit more realistic. The result is also a smaller phone (still longer than a Treo, but not as long as my previous design). Again, I'll throw it up there soon and post a new link for it (I'll keep the old design active as well).

    Scott
  8. #8  
    Since we're brainstorming form factor, lets consider the possible users of the device. Imagine you're the busy executive trying to get a headstart on that spreadsheet while heading into the office of a crowded subway, does this formfactor make this easy? More importantly, can you easily talk on the phone and access data? Guess I was just never a fan of the landscape flip design, struck me as awkward, even in a fairly compact device. Personally, I prefer the basic design concept of the Treo; although, some minor modifications could be made to the form factor.

    Gargoyle
  9. #9  
    Originally posted by gargoylejps
    can you easily talk on the phone and access data?
    Excellent point!
  10.    #10  
    There are aspects of my design that are not apparent just by looking at the pretty pictures. It would have a speakerphone capability when in landscape mode. It would probably switch to speakerphone mode automatically (when you're already in the middle of a call) just by flipping it open. Of course, if you're using a headset, this wouldn't apply. I believe this is similar to how the Nokia Communicator works.

    Scott
  11.    #11  
    <Duplicate post>
  12.    #12  
    Here's version 2.0:

    http://www.hipnetic.com/geek/treo_new2.gif

    I made the phone shorter and the screen smaller (480x320 now). I also made the phone a bit wider (in phone mode), though it's still a little narrower than the current Treo (which was one of my goals). I also gave it an antenna, though not as long as the current Treo's. I gave it an antenna because my Treo can get a signal in my home (barely) whereas my previous Sprint phone (Samsung i300) could not. If an antenna can improve reception, then I'll gladly have an antenna. If someone can convince me that the antenna isn't important for getting a good signal, I can remove it.

    Scott
  13.    #13  
    Here's an alternative design that I had thought of a while ago...

    http://www.hipnetic.com/geek/treo_new3.gif

    This one's for the kids. This uses the same form-factor as the current Treo. The most radical change is the addition of a joypad and two action buttons on the lid. The screen is also physically larger and higher resolution (320x320). What the heck...there's also a camera w/flash on the back. I'll try to get around to creating a mock-up of the back. Other highlights that aren't apparent in the picture:
    - Removable higher capacity battery.
    - SDIO slot.
    - OS5/ARM.
    - Bluetooth.

    Any other radical ideas for a great smartphone design?

    Scott
  14. #14  
  15. #15  
    The only two suggestions I would make are...

    1) Use a "metal" color to hint that the case would be made of... hrm.. metal. Making it much stronger

    2) I would be MUCH more concerned about form factor (ie: size) than a camera. I say ditch the camera and make the phone smaller.

    ~zirkin
  16. #16  
    Scott,

    I like the new designs. You are right about the Revo's design being too wide for thumb typing. I would love something about 1/2 the length of a Revo form factor which it looks like you accomplished in your sketches.

    As far as thickness goes, I don't think I would want to pocket anything thicker than the current Treo's size. If all the features we wanted could be squeezed into that size it would be great.
  17.    #17  
    Originally posted by lynch
    Scott,

    I like the new designs. You are right about the Revo's design being too wide for thumb typing. I would love something about 1/2 the length of a Revo form factor which it looks like you accomplished in your sketches.

    As far as thickness goes, I don't think I would want to pocket anything thicker than the current Treo's size. If all the features we wanted could be squeezed into that size it would be great.
    Thanks. Yeah, the clamshell devices would definitely be thicker than the current device. Possibly a good deal thicker. I don't think there's any way around that when we start integrated all sorts of nifty new features as well as a higher capacity (and removable battery). I tried to reduce the impact of this by reducing the width (in phone mode), though my V2.0 design is actually wider than V1.0, and just a little bit narrower than the Treo.

    The problem is that I don't think Handspring can make the screen any smaller than it currently is, because the on-screen buttons would be more difficult to tap, the cursor would be more difficult to position, etc. I know this because I owned a Samsung i300 and they made a nice, narrow phone but because the screen was physically smaller, the usability suffered. There's another possibility. Handspring could dump the Palm OS altogether and start over. They created the OS (for the most part), so it's not unthinkable. They should have the talent there (assuming some of the original OS programmers came with them when they started up HS). The downside is that you lose all the Palm OS library of programs. That's a biggie. The upside is that they could design a new GUI which is maximized for thumbboard usage (perhaps not even have a touchscreen at all, though I think having one opens up more possibilities for applications). It would also allow them to use a new screen resolution where they could fit a higher resolution into a smaller screen while still maintaining good usability.

    Scott
  18. #18  
    my comment in reading this is that it's obvious there will never be any one phone that makes everybody happy since we all have different priorities.

    for instance, i would enjoy a better battery setup but have not really had much trouble the way it is. i also would not want to give up palm functionality as suggested above, as i have added some neat palm apps to my treo.

    on the other hand i have not found myself wishing i could be working on an excel spreadsheet for work. i primarily work in desktop publishing and graphics apps and they will never translate well to the small screen.

    i also think we are pretty far away from a camera that would be sufficiently high quality to make it worthwhile for other than exchanging shots over the phone, and would not want to give up space or have a larger unit to accomodate it.

    i would, on the other hand, like some sort of memory expansion slot so i could carry more books and would love to see mp3 playback that would reach 128 mb capacity or so.

    which leads back to my original statement, that since we all want different things, we can continue to expect different phones from various manufacturers, which is what makes it great!
    Change is a challenge to the adventurous, an opportunity to the alert, a threat to the insecure.
  19.    #19  
    aarons12, my purpose in starting this thread was to convey some of my ideas graphically, since it can sometimes be difficult to describe them with just words. I agree that there is no one perfect device. Even in my ideas, I showed a couple of different form factors (one of which was pretty much the same as the existing form factor). As you say, every one has different needs/wants. Someone who wants email, but could care less about web browsing or other high-res needs might prefer something along the lines of the current form factor. Some people may not even care about composing much email, but only reading it, in which case an even more phone-centric design would be desired (maybe along the lines of the Kyocera 7135). Someone else may want to browse the web in all its glory and can live with the extra size. In this case the Nokia Communicator design works well.

    Manufacturers in the current economy are trying to figure out how to make the cheapest device that appeals to the largest audience where they can sell it for as high as possible. Eventually, if/when the economy gets going again, I think there will be enough room in the market to accommodate even the smaller niche markets (e.g. - large Nokia Communicator style devices), but right now I think that manufacturers are assuming that the majority of people want something small. Still, I like to dream up other form factors, hoping that I may hit on something which can accommodate a large screen while keeping the device pretty small.

    Regarding your comments about integrated cameras. I disagree that this is a long ways off. I don't think we're quite there yet, but I think it will be soon. The integrated camera in Sony's NZ90 looks like it may be pretty good quality. I think it's a 2.1MP and it has an integrated flash. Will picture quality from these ever get to be as good as some of the better camera-only devices can offer? Probably not, but I do think that they'll offer quality that is plenty good for the many/most in the near term. I also think that there is going to be a growing trend of people who don't ever print out their pictures. Instead, more and more people will upload their pictures to a web site that they'll point their friends and family to. For that group, super-high megapixel cameras will be unnecessary, and even a 320x240 resolution could suffice. I think this trend will grow rapidly when we see manufacturers offer the full package of a camera-phone which lets someone easily upload their pictures to one of these web sites. We're in the early stages of this now where phone cameras mostly lack flashes, have too-low resolution, and take bad pictures regardless of those issues (i.e. - poor optics and software resulting in poor quality pictures), but I expect quality to get very good within the next 12 months. I don't expect resolution to get to the point where the pictures will be good enough for printing within that time frame (as another issue will be the bandwidth costs of uploading such high-res pictures), but as I mentioned above, I think that many (certainly not all) people will adapt to the "paperless" photo lifestyle.

    Scott
  20. #20  
    i agree that the megapixel issue is highly overrated and indeed, i use my digital pix much more for web than for printing. however it's the optics i'm more concerned with, not the pixels...

    then again, there are new things coming there too. hope you are right. i'm certainly not against the camera idea, i have 6 digital cameras, just no point if they don't take a decent picture...
    Change is a challenge to the adventurous, an opportunity to the alert, a threat to the insecure.
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