Feature Phone / Pre-iPhone Phone Features You Miss / Wish Make it to Modern Smartphones
Ah, the glory days of feature phones / Symbian phones in the early to mid 2000s. How I love reliving the megapixel wars and the glorious design chops before everything turned slab.
Before the original iPhone happened in 2007, most of our phones are feature phones, Symbian smartphones, or BlackBerries. Touchscreen phones were a rarity and in the off chance they come into being, they were a pain to use or lack the comfortable features most of the high-end feature phones have.
Remember when your K800i Cybershot has that Xenon flash? Or your N95 having a dual slide mechanism and it was actually cool? How about that swivel knife form factor? Or that two screen Samsung phone that Beyonce modeled for? The glory days of feature phones. What feature do you miss most or wish come to modern smartphones already?
Here are mine:
1. XENON FLASH
I used to have these on my old Cybershot and some Nokia phones. The reassuring feeling they give me of taking photos in the dark is something that I don't get with my LED flash on my smartphone these days. There is a delectable feeling that the xenon click leaves that I don't get with the flicker of the LED. Plus, people complain how the LED blinds them all the time.
Sure, we have definitely camera modules these days, but still, I don't believe they are any better at parties or generally dark rooms. It's been almost 3 years (?) since the last flagship Nokia phone shipped with a Xenon flash. Please OEMs, give us Xenon again.
2. DIFFERING / DARING FORM FACTORS AND DESIGN
Once upon a time, not all phones were slabs. Some were shaped like lipstick bars, some were shaped like leaves, some with large eye hooks at the chin, some have removable keyboard cover, that has a keyboard on it, and some swivels open into one huge-ass phone. And not only those, nowadays it's either you have a black slab or a white slab. Back then, OEMs were crazy with colors--we had purple phones, red phones, gold phones, blue phones, yellow phones, green phones with orange details (ick). Interchangeable colors were very much a thing back then, too, especially for the early Nokia models. And since I am on design here, may I also bemoan the near-universal use of plastic and glass. Sad that not every OEM pays attention to materials they use on their phones, and I hope everyone takes cues from the materials HTC has used in their One line (aircraft metal in the One S, insane). Remember the Nokia 8910, made of titanium. Pretty slick. We don't get these nowadays. It's all plastic and glass and I wish we have more choices than we already do. Not everyone likes a plain looking slab.
3. LED NOTIFICATIONS
This is something that haunts me. How can not all modern smartphone have them? Led notification lights are a good way to save you the trouble of having to press the power button to know what your phone is up to. And with apps that help customize them (Light Flow in Android), it's unimaginable why manufacturers haven't gotten around placing 3-color LEDS on their devices (yes, HTC, why stick with uncustomizable LED lights).
How about you, what feature phone or pre-"modern" smartphone do you want to be in today's smartphones?