Smartphone Hardware, Software and Service
There are three sides to our smartphones: the carrier, the hardware and the software. Which of these is the most important for our experience? Undoubtedly, each of these facets is important and some companies have a better understanding of this than others. Let’s take a look at these three sides.
Smartphone hardware has traditionally been very important and it’s easy to see why. After all, it’s the tangible part of our smartphone – it’s the bit we hold in our hand. Customers enjoy large, colourful displays, fast processors, and great cameras. We like the way devices feel in our hands, and manufacturers are getting better at using sleek glass, metal, ceramic, polycarbonate or “unashamedly plastic” shells. It would be nice if more manufacturers built smaller devices, however.
Hardware is also difficult to change: some smartphones can add a microSD card to boost internal storage, and some such as the Motorola Moto Z family, LG G5 or Essential PH-1 have expansion ports or slots to add functionality. However, many smartphones cannot easily have their battery replaced. For most, the hardware your device comes with is pretty much the hardware you’ll have as long as you keep the handset.
Something else to bear in mind is that if you use a case, it doesn’t matter what your device feels like!
Going forwards, Google’s Instant Apps technology places less emphasis on our smartphone’s chipset and running speed as these apps are running on a server based in the cloud. This means the user experience will depend more on the speed of the network connection than the speed of the device in your hand.
Our smartphone’s hardware is useless without software. If the ‘phone doesn’t boot, it doesn’t function and it’s as good as a paperweight. When we consider smartphone software, this needs to be written and optimised for the device in question. Well designed and written software helps low-end hardware to perform well, whereas badly optimised software ruins a flagship device (I’m looking at Samsung here).
It can also be important to keep device software up to date as well as applying Google’s security patches. This keeps things as safe and secure as they can be.
As software ages, eventually it can no longer support modern applications, but so far this has taken several years in the Android world. For the more advanced user, you can also root your device to add additional functionality.
Our carrier service is the most important part of the smartphone experience. This is something we’ve written about at Android Social Media in the past, but if your smartphone doesn’t get coverage, it’s a paperweight. Depending where you are in the world, this can mean getting 2G, 3G or LTE coverage in the places where you need it. It can also mean getting Wi-Fi coverage too, especially as some carriers now offer service via Wi-Fi networks.