Does Hardware in Smartphones Matter?

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_Cubase_

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the only thing that frustrated me about the phone tech getting better is the fact that unlike with PCs (which you can pretty much upgrade how you want, when you want to) you are often at the mercy of the phone companies and their ridiculous contracts! Which means most of the time, finding out some new tech has been released is simply a way to get frustrated with your current offering
 

rpmrush

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That was a very scatter brained article. I felt a better point could have been made. Droid phones can have an unpolished feel at times, but if the point was a more polished software package is better than bleeding edge hardware than it was poorly made.
 

wifiwolf

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I just hope some companies start investing for real on that market. So much variety and little quality. That applies to Apple too (on quality). Jobs is far from making the perfect smartphone but he's quite ahead. The only reason why he doesn't get my money is because i'm still a geek and like to explore and own whatever I buy.
That said, it's the first time ever someone written something good about Apple without being partial. No marketing just the truth.
 
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Un-optimized hardware/software/firmware/drivers/kernel combinations play a bigger role in the speed of a phone than just the hardware spec. There are plenty of 1ghz ARM phones that aren't any more responsive than something like the LG Optimus S with a 600mhz previous-gen CPU.
 

Dandalf

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I have no idea what point this article is trying to make. It is all over the place.

Sure iOS is nice to use, but equally so is WP7. One of those has a huge chunk of the market, the other does not. So ask yourself mr smart ass, does phone software really matter?

Answer: They both matter as little and as much as each other. Only user experience matters, and that comes from a phone maker who pays attention to tuning the software and hardware to work well with each other.

There, I just wrote the conclusion this article should have had.
 

milktea

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Hardware in smartphones on the shelves today probably doesn't matter much. But give it a couple more years for the smartphones to mature, by then, the quality of it would saturate to a point where people would begin looking for high performance hardware. :)
 

topcms

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Mr, Wolfgang Gruener i so agree with you and i've written a few comments on different web sites including Tom's about this issue. People keep blaming the OS when the problem is actually on the other end. I mentioned that microsoft has failed in gaining market and becoming the good guy compared to apple just because of the freedom given to the manufacturers. I've personally had three different HP laptops in which all three had AMD CPUs.... None of the three lap tops still exists due to failure reasons . Guess who i've blamed..... AMD. If the laptops stopped from working it's because AMD cpus suck right?? NO, Hp laptops suck so much in their cooling design that it's impossible to any component to survive that much heat. I don't even know if the problem was the cpu but the Note just stopped working. If AMD didn't allow what meters to their CPU to work well to be built we wouldn't have to face such problems. All that made me buy a Lenovo which has access to the fan and avery time it starts to heat up too much i can just clean the damn thing. WHat a simple thing to do!!! Android OS is so letting their OS be smashed by bad comments about how it stutters and how the user experience is not so good compared to apple's. And that is a shame. Thank you again for this post and i hope that you have the voice so that people at MCS and GOOGLE listen to you.!!
 
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Is this really a surprise? I mean, look at the horrid computer issues of the '90s when desktops were first getting popular, or the early '00s when things were beginning to move towards laptops. Each time there is a major device change it takes a while for the hardware and the software to settle down, or at least move in a predictable enough direction, to work with each other nicely. It took nearly 10 years to go from the crap of 3.1 to the glory days of win2K and XP, and even then we had a hickup with vista before getting a mature OS. But now things work very well, even without bleeding edge hardware. Same with laptops; Remember old Pentium 3 laptops? The days when wifi was an option lol. And battery life was a joke until just 4-5 years ago. And it took a while to get an OS that worked nicely with wifi, and could scale to save battery life. XP sp2 helped that a lot, and win7 does a great job at it.

So it is with the cell phone market. 2009 was the first year that smartphones began to be popular, and I am impressed that they have come so far in just 3 years to go from the crock of the first mass market phones, to what we have today. But we are in the midst of growing pains. That ugly transition from phones, to a personal computing device. The first OS (win8?) that lets me use my phone as a boot device that has all of my apps and user data, and then lets me take advantage of whatever PC I hook into for screen, processor, graphics, etc, and the manufacturer that has the hardware to do it best, will win the day. Once we move more in that direction, the sooner the growing pains will end and we can be productive again.
 

eddieroolz

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I think that the hardware has reached great levels to be honest. Apple is still doing fine with their iOS with less hardware than that of many leading Android models.

The difference is the OS optimization. Android is so bloated and its primary advantage of being workable across many configurations is its biggest downfall. I've tried out the Xoom tablet and its laggy even after a fresh reboot - the same goes for the Iconia tablet.

What Android needs to start doing is to optimize their OS better.
 

jecastej

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When you depend a lot on one device, presumably your phone, yes everything matters. But the worst device is the one that ran out of battery because you simply can't use it. I won't have a phone I need to reboot 2 or 3 times a day. And finally I don't care for functions that doesn't do what they were designed to do or are not intuitive. I think the phones today are suffering for a extremely broad ambition and that they are starting not to excel in anything. I understand why, and as others pointed I think in a few months or years the software will be perfected. I have not doubts we will have true powerful and reliable computers in our pockets in a few years, but until then in my personal balance I prefer to have fewer functions, more battery life and the best reliability. I vote for the user experience.
 

sinfulpotato

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The Samsung Galaxy S line is one of the best phones on the market in my opinion. It can be had for cheap on any carrier right now. And for a oldish smartphone still beats newer phones in performance.
 
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Anyone who buys a phone looking for the 'latest and greatest' features is an idiot.

1) Bloody Expensive
2) Tied to a Fixed 2 or 3 year expensive data plan
3) Obsolete a couple months after you get it.

Right now, theres really no reason for dual-core phones. Whats so demanding that really requires them?
Do they improve network coverage? No. Theres not even true multitasking on phones so you dont see any basic funcionality improvements.

Angry birds and the other popular App games arent that demanding, and for some reason people are obsess with playing with 3-4" devices.
 

dalauder

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Anyone remember the Nokia 3210 of 1999 and 3310 of 2000? Those phones were excellent and EVERYONE had them. Why isn't there a market for phones that lack systemic flaws?

I've had 3 Nokia Xpress Music screens (and my brother had 1) and all 4 cracked. But I still prefer it over my wife's unbelievably sluggish Blackberry (Pearl I think). That thing takes 3 seconds to do anything with every button press, it takes an hour to figure out how to change the ring tone (and I'm tech-savvy), and it needs fancy software to access it via USB because it can't use MicroSD. And Razors--half of those are broken when they're shipped from the factory.

This is exactly why I don't own a smartphone or buy many sports video games--they put out junk on a quick redesign cycle instead of just putting out quality and improving features in iterations.
 

croc

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I guess that I'm just too much the engineer. To me, the most important bit of hardware kit in a mobile handset is the radio chipset and associated hardware. Does it have good reception? Is the clarity of the call good? Does it xmit well? None of these phone functions require a CPU, BTW... (Or a screen, or an fm radio, an mp3 player, etc.) And the most important bit of software (for me) on a mobile handset is a good FE test suite.

I have a really nice PC at home that has a really nice screen, and a really nice laptop with a really nice screen for road trips.
 

bejabbers

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You should test out a quality phone. I just picked up the Xperia Arc, and I must say, even with a single core processor, this thing functions better than almost anything else I've seen. Plus it has fantastic aesthetics, and loads of special features to boot.
 

ikyung

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I always give Apple props for 3 things they do right.
1. customer service
2. tech for dummies way for all of their devices to talk to each other
3. marketing

It is only right that Apple is owning majority of the shares in the smartphone, tablet section. They have the 3 things done right. Service, marketing, and compatibility.

In maybe 3 more years people will start picking out their devices according to hardware rather then software once the softwares mature.
 
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