What must-have features should every mobile phone have? What features would you easily give up?

Even though there are hundreds of mobile phone models out there, there is a single thing they all need to do, and do well, place phone calls. As surprising as it may seem, even though I run a blog that’s occasionally gadget-oriented, my mobile (or more specifically, my wife’s mobile) is somewhat limited feature-wise. I’ve been having a hard time justifying paying $80+ per month just to have access to the web a few times per month, even though it would be really useful from time to time. But apart from placing phone calls and having basic web access, I wouldn’t really need a phone for anything else. Themes and text messages are optional as far as I’m concerned. A integrated camera? No thanks, I prefer taking my trusty PowerShot SD780IS digital camera with me.

But what about you, dear readers? what must-have features do you think every mobile phone should have? What features would you easily give up? Please let us know in the comments section below!


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20 Responses to What must-have features should every mobile phone have? What features would you easily give up?

  1. I have never jumped on the smartphone bandwagon. Okay, briefly I had a Pearl, but I hated it. I personally just want a phone to do the work a PHONE needs to do, and juggle things on the laptop. I type so much that so far no phone has managed to make web browsing anything more than annoying for long periods of time (though, I admit, GPS is something I do wish I had…)

  2. I have never jumped on the smartphone bandwagon. Okay, briefly I had a Pearl, but I hated it. I personally just want a phone to do the work a PHONE needs to do, and juggle things on the laptop. I type so much that so far no phone has managed to make web browsing anything more than annoying for long periods of time (though, I admit, GPS is something I do wish I had…)

  3. When I had my Motorola Razor and A Dell PDA, I was content to carry a separate phone and PDA. Then I bought my first Windows Mobile phone (the t-mobile MDA), and loved having one device to rule them all. Nowadays, I carry an Android phone. Full PDA functions, data is automatically backed up to the cloud. If my phone gets destroyed, buy a new one, set it up, and have all my data immediately. Apps, games, internet, productivity, and apps.

    I could live without the music, but it is nice to have…

    I also love my full hardware keyboard. That one is hard to give up.

    I say bring more! :) I may not play scrabble often, but it is nice to know it is there.

    The thing I could do without is the closed systems that some smartphone manufacturers have (read: Apple).

  4. When I had my Motorola Razor and A Dell PDA, I was content to carry a separate phone and PDA. Then I bought my first Windows Mobile phone (the t-mobile MDA), and loved having one device to rule them all. Nowadays, I carry an Android phone. Full PDA functions, data is automatically backed up to the cloud. If my phone gets destroyed, buy a new one, set it up, and have all my data immediately. Apps, games, internet, productivity, and apps.

    I could live without the music, but it is nice to have…

    I also love my full hardware keyboard. That one is hard to give up.

    I say bring more! :) I may not play scrabble often, but it is nice to know it is there.

    The thing I could do without is the closed systems that some smartphone manufacturers have (read: Apple).

  5. Since I got my iPhone I use it for EVERYTHING when I'm away from my desktop (I don't have a laptop). It keeps my life organized and keeps me entertained/connected when I have time. So I need/want it to do many things:

    Calendar is vital, I have a bad memory (and it syncs with my girlfriend's)

    Phone calls also vital

    GPS, in case I get lost

    email

    Texting for my chatty friends

    Social Networking apps (I only do Facebook/Twitter on the go)

    Instant Messaging

    eBay, Craigs List, etc.

    I totally agree with the mobile browser woes. I prefer a dedicated app made for my device for anything beyond a quick check of a website. I also don't do any real work on my phone. It's not made for that except in certain occupations. Lastly, I bought a 180GB iPod for all of my music. It just wont fit on my phone (and will drain the battery too much).

  6. Since I got my iPhone I use it for EVERYTHING when I’m away from my desktop (I don’t have a laptop). It keeps my life organized and keeps me entertained/connected when I have time. So I need/want it to do many things:

    Calendar is vital, I have a bad memory (and it syncs with my girlfriend’s)
    Phone calls also vital
    GPS, in case I get lost
    email
    Texting for my chatty friends
    Social Networking apps (I only do Facebook/Twitter on the go)
    Instant Messaging
    eBay, Craigs List, etc.

    I totally agree with the mobile browser woes. I prefer a dedicated app made for my device for anything beyond a quick check of a website. I also don’t do any real work on my phone. It’s not made for that except in certain occupations. Lastly, I bought a 180GB iPod for all of my music. It just wont fit on my phone (and will drain the battery too much).

  7. I forgot to mention that I use my camera phone for taking pictures of things that I need to remember. It's quicker than copying down a recipe from someone, or it helps me make sure that I get the exact shampoo that my roommate likes (just take a photo and match at the store). I know that I can't scale the photos up for framing on my wall, so I don't even try to take "pretty pictures". It's a utility, not an artistic tool.

  8. I forgot to mention that I use my camera phone for taking pictures of things that I need to remember. It’s quicker than copying down a recipe from someone, or it helps me make sure that I get the exact shampoo that my roommate likes (just take a photo and match at the store). I know that I can’t scale the photos up for framing on my wall, so I don’t even try to take “pretty pictures”. It’s a utility, not an artistic tool.

  9. – high speed data

    – good camera

    – BIG screen – definitely resistive, or: good qwerty keyboard, manageable with *one* hand

    – all the usual apps (notes, calendar, calculator, etc)

    – upcoming appointments shown on start screen

    – good & fast web browser

    – an easy way to find, download & install apps & games

    – fast & easy switching between T9 languages, ability to download more languages if needed

    – GPS with navigation software on the phone – downloading maps while travelling abroad is extremely expensive

    – MiFi capabilities for wireless surfing with laptop

    – fast, intuitive & responsive OS (= not Symbian or Windows Phone)

    …one can always dream, can't one?

  10. – high speed data
    – good camera
    – BIG screen – definitely resistive, or: good qwerty keyboard, manageable with *one* hand
    – all the usual apps (notes, calendar, calculator, etc)
    – upcoming appointments shown on start screen
    – good & fast web browser
    – an easy way to find, download & install apps & games
    – fast & easy switching between T9 languages, ability to download more languages if needed
    – GPS with navigation software on the phone – downloading maps while travelling abroad is extremely expensive
    – MiFi capabilities for wireless surfing with laptop
    – fast, intuitive & responsive OS (= not Symbian or Windows Phone)

    …one can always dream, can’t one?

  11. right now i am not using a cell phone, i have learned to live without one. In my oppion a cell phone should only have 3 major function texting, calander, and the obvious being able to make calls. If push comes to shove i can live without being able to text on my phone.

  12. right now i am not using a cell phone, i have learned to live without one. In my oppion a cell phone should only have 3 major function texting, calander, and the obvious being able to make calls. If push comes to shove i can live without being able to text on my phone.

  13. It's a phone. I need a directory built in ("address book") to store numbers. Texting is extremely handy, but isn't necessary. Everything else is garbage and gravy.

  14. It’s a phone. I need a directory built in (“address book”) to store numbers. Texting is extremely handy, but isn’t necessary. Everything else is garbage and gravy.

  15. About two years ago, I got a Palm Treo 755p, which was probably one of the last "smartphones" that didn't require internet access. I love it. What I really like and find invaluable is being able to sync my contacts and calendar with my computer, but I can also read eBooks, play games, and even work do word processing and spreadsheets, along with many other tasks, but it is a lot easier to carry around than a laptop or netbook. As I said, I don't have (optional) internet access on my phone, but if I need to add a program or file, I can do so through my computer. I don't need internet access on the phone. Oh, sure, occasionally it would come in handy, but not often enough to justify the cost.

    I also like having a physical keyboard. That makes it nice to get work done.

    Unfortunately, you can't buy a smartphone now that doesn't require internet access. In this economy, I really can't justify the added monthly cost. So I'll be sticking with my Treo until it craps out, and then get a free "dumb" phone so I don't have to pay that added monthly fee. I don't mind paying an additional couple hundred up front if I need to, but the extra nearly $1,000 spread out over the two year contract of a phone is a bit much for a service that I don't think I need.

  16. About two years ago, I got a Palm Treo 755p, which was probably one of the last “smartphones” that didn’t require internet access. I love it. What I really like and find invaluable is being able to sync my contacts and calendar with my computer, but I can also read eBooks, play games, and even work do word processing and spreadsheets, along with many other tasks, but it is a lot easier to carry around than a laptop or netbook. As I said, I don’t have (optional) internet access on my phone, but if I need to add a program or file, I can do so through my computer. I don’t need internet access on the phone. Oh, sure, occasionally it would come in handy, but not often enough to justify the cost.

    I also like having a physical keyboard. That makes it nice to get work done.

    Unfortunately, you can’t buy a smartphone now that doesn’t require internet access. In this economy, I really can’t justify the added monthly cost. So I’ll be sticking with my Treo until it craps out, and then get a free “dumb” phone so I don’t have to pay that added monthly fee. I don’t mind paying an additional couple hundred up front if I need to, but the extra nearly $1,000 spread out over the two year contract of a phone is a bit much for a service that I don’t think I need.

  17. Lose the useless camera–most of the sites I work on, you can't have a camera– so i wind up having to keep my old brick phone. Lose the voice recorder too– most useless thing devised. Make the keys and buttons man sized, instead of making them for the tiniest fingers. GPS good.

    Make them more comfortable to hold, and make them more shock resistant.

  18. Lose the useless camera–most of the sites I work on, you can’t have a camera– so i wind up having to keep my old brick phone. Lose the voice recorder too– most useless thing devised. Make the keys and buttons man sized, instead of making them for the tiniest fingers. GPS good.
    Make them more comfortable to hold, and make them more shock resistant.

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