The Samsung Galaxy Beam, a projector phone.
Here are two phones which seem actually innovative. One is a Nokia with an actually good camera, the other is a Samsung with a projector built in. I shan’t rehash any details, just follow the links. I’ll just talk about the ideas.
The biggest cost with phones (ie, computers) is screens. Hence you can get a Dialog WebBox for Rs. 12,000 in Sri Lanka. It’s an Android computer that connects to a TV for display. With no monitor they can drop the price dramatically. In the UK they’re selling Raspberry Pi, a naked Linux circuit-board that sells for $25. Largely because it has no monitor.
Anyways, the Samsung Beam above has a high-quality monitor and looks really expensive. Which is almost like the last paragraph we redundant, but er. The more relevant point is that there’s a physical limit to the size of monitor a phone can handle. I’ve seen people talking on pads, and it doesn’t quite work. It’s still nice to have something pocket-sized.
One way out is projection (I propose another below). Thus you get phones like the Samsung Beam above. You can get similar projection on an iPhone with this Brookstone accessory. Nikon has also had a projector camera for years.
So do any of these Pico Projectors really deliver what people expect? A bright, clear, projection? Not really. The Beam does HD (which is more than that iPhone thing), but it’s still not super bright. But the way it’s going, we will get some good projection phones soon. I honestly wish Apple would reinvent the projector (and printer) altogether.
The Nokia 808, an innovative camera phone.
Ah, but I already have a camera phone. No, you don’t. Camera phones suck. Most compact cams also suck, and even my X100 struggles next to DSLRs. Without some radical rethinking of camera technology, smaller cameras will always be worse. The Lytro is one reinvention. It stores information differently and lets you do stuff like focus after.
Another innovation is the Nokia 808 above. While it does not include a drum-machine, they have backed away from the lemming-like drive towards more megapixels and are trying to actually take better photos. It’s a long story, but the jist [I spell it that way] is that the camera uses an insane 41 megapixel sensor to make, like, 5 megapixel photos. They combine multiple pixels into one, improving quality. It’s thinking outside of the box, and judging by their Flickr samples, it kinda works.
Thing is, the phone runs their discontinued Symbian operating system, so it’s kinda like a fabulous dinosaur.
This is a phone that doesn’t exist yet, but my idea is like an iPhone with screens on all sides. If you flip it open, it becomes like a Galaxy Note. Flip it open again and it’s an iPad. Etc. Does that make sense? I always loved flip phones, it’d be cool if you could flip your smartphone into bigger sizes, as needed.