Kaizen for mobile phones

3 minute read

The other day, Niara and myself were discussing about patentable ideas to improve mobile phones, she had come up with a pretty impressive list. So, I started thinking about things that I would like to see and here's what I came up with:

  1. Camera-phones should have an option to 'start an album' and 'end an album' so that we can make albums instead of having one huge mess of photos. Equally important is that bluetooth transfers should work for albums as a whole. This makes it easy to transfer photos instead of pressing yes for each and every photo that gets received.
    • Stretching the idea is to use tags - you have a running set of tags that gets applied to each new photo that you click.
  2. Contact details should have an auto-filled field that displays when you last talked to this person, this helps keep track of whether you're in touch with your friends.
    • Optionally, you can set an alarm to warn you if you haven't spoken to your best buddy in a week.
  3. Browsing the address book should be sorted by how frequently you call these contacts rather than just alphabetical order.
  4. A default way of exporting the address book via bluetooth into a zip file or something that can be again imported (whenever the user wants to retrieve from backup).
    • Preferably a standard format that works across different manufacturers.
  5. Character-voice-enabled. Instead of voice recognition for words, it should work for just one character at a time - such as alphabets, numbers, etc. It saves the trouble of typing... Of course, this idea could use some refinement.
  6. One touch voice recording. Quickly jot down your thoughts or todo items you don't want to forget. This would be very handy for me.
    • Maybe even podcast it. Could be achieved by an accompanying decent PC software.
  7. Self-organizing start menu. If you use the calendar option a lot, then it bubbles up and becomes one of the important menu items so that you can quickly access it.

But, alas, as she rightly pointed out, these are not revenue-generating ideas, just usability ideas...

P.S. The irony is that I hate mobile phones. Maybe that's why most of the above ideas are PIM-centric.


Harsha says:

i was wondering if multiplayer gaming on bluetooth would not be a bad idea

Bhargava says:

The 2nd idea seems too good. I'm pretty interested in developing new,funny(but useless :( ) softwares for mobiles and these ideas are pretty good.

Swaroop says:

@Bhargava: Please feel free to implement these ideas...

PizzaDude says:

Given the lifestyles that we lead today, point 2 would be a very useful feature.

Bikram says:

Wow, really innovative and great ideas; specially the 3rd and 4th one. Hope someday all these could be implemented.

t3rmin4t0r says:

Self-organizing menus are really annoying ... trust me on this.

The phonebook backup thing already works really easily with AT commands - I've done it before for my phone.

And I hate phones which look like calculators ...

Sriram Krishnan says:

Self-organizing menus are a bad idea (remember the personalized menus in old versions of Office?). They basically kill muscle memory. This is worse on a cellphone where your muscle memory plays a bigger role. On a Nokia phone, I can open up the games section almost without looking - I just 'know' what button presses I need by repetition over time

Swaroop says:

@Bikram: As I mentioned, these are not money-making ideas, so chances of them getting looked at is very small :)

@Gopal, @Sriram: For the self-organizing menus, I was thinking more on the lines of the Windows XP start menu - the overall menu remains the same, but there is a shortcut list which has both a fixed set and a rotating set of icons.

@Gopal: I should've known you would've hacked something already :P

Reghu says:

Nice ideas. Idea no 3 was on my mind sometime ago. One improvement to this could be to also take into account, the time of the day the calls were made to contacts and use this information to sort the contacts list according to the current time. This has happened to me lot of times, when i would be waiting for the office shuttle in the morning, i would wish that my shuttle contacts just show up in the top of the list, rather than scrolling thru them to find :)

P says:

The 2nd,3rd and the 4th really will do users good.Very good it ideas and I hop cell look into and modify their software to incorporate these into their future phone features.

Its high time"standard format that works across different manufacturers" come into the market at least as far as the contacts/address book are concerned.