Thinking ahead: distinctive experience vs. flexible product
05-06-2014 10:23 AM
- I'm using the One M8 and Project Ara as examples here. Forgive me if you don't agree with my interpretation or summary of the two, but the topic is still intriguing. If you just want the bottom line, feel free to skip to the end.
The One M8.
From the unique stereo speakers design that debuted with the M7 to the Dot View Case of the M8, it's certainly a unique device with a unique design. From the AC review:The original HTC One was the company’s first major push into an all- (OK, mostly) metal construction, milling out a single block of aluminum for what was a pretty striking phone. But the new HTC One? Downright futuristic. More metal. A more impressive design. A bigger display. And the best software HTC’s ever put together, with HTC Sense 6 and its wealth of features running atop Android 4.4.2 KitKat. The new HTC One is, quite simply, the best smartphone HTC has ever made.
A lot of the improved look and feel comes down to one thing — the way the back of the phone curves up and over and into the side. Gone is the beveled edge that, while stylish, very much broke up the line of the phone. Now it’s just a gentle curve that rolls over onto the back. It’s still a pretty sharp angle to the vertical, but the transition in no way feels like a sharp edge.
HTC’s attention to detail is very much still in effect, though, from the beveled front edge as it meets the display to the top edge, which houses the power button and IR port and any other magical device. The brushed finish on the gunmetal gray — easily our favorite of the three — is a wonderful touch.
So Google ATAP is moving forward with Project Ara, which is awesome. They're looking at a $50 entry point for the modular hardware platform, which will likely materialize next year. There's no understating the importance of introducing modular hardware like this to the smart-device industry. Longer-lasting hardware, easily replaceable hardware, easily upgradeable hardware, etc. However, the fact remains that this product is restricted in two ways: the base platform will be the same (aside from three sizes), and the individual component modules will also be restricted in form.
What does that mean? Well... it isn't entirely clear. We don't know much about how the project will take shape, or how it will evolve after launch. However, at least in the beginning, I'd say it's unlikely that we'll see modular smartphones with the same level of attention to detail and control over design that we see with "all-in-one" devices like the M8, or any other current flagship. For example, I certainly don't see Apple moving to a modular platform like this any time soon. Their vertical integration and complete hardware and software control is what gives them the ability to create a very cohesive hardware and software experience, which on the Android side of things is an aspect Google has been working to enable and improve.
What's the bottom line?
The promise of a modular hardware platform shares some of the same benefits as open-source software. It's a base platform that can be used, improved (through increasingly advanced and feature-rich modules), and influenced by consumers and manufacturers alike. Many of the restrictions and pitfalls of the current smartphone experience may be improved or bypassed entirely. You'll be given the option to build your own hardware experience, but only time will tell to what extent.
So what interests you more? The flexibility and control of a modular platform, or the "complete" experience of a product designed from the bottom up with a specific vision in mind?05-01-2014 02:12 PMLike 2
- Kevin OQuinnAC Team EmeritusIt all comes down to experience right? How cohesive will the software and hardware be for Ara vs something like the M8 (or any other device for that matter)?
The other way to look at it would be from an easily serviceable device standpoint. Modularity = easy to service. Break your screen? Buy another and slide it in. A higher resolution display comes out? Buy it and insert it (same with any component really).
I guess it comes down to those things for me. All the modularity in the world won't make up for a poor software experience.05-01-2014 05:19 PMLike 3
I say let people decide what they want. Give them the option to mix and match different screen sizes, cameras, storage capacities, carrier frequencies, build materials, and so forth. If you're going to spend good money on something that you'll probably carry with you all day, you should be happy with every aspect of it.05-01-2014 09:19 PMLike 1
- I think most people want control over what goes in their phone. For example, some people didn't like the camera on the HTC One M8. There wouldn't be a problem if you could swap out the camera with a different one.
I say let people decide what they want. Give them the option to mix and match different screen sizes, cameras, storage capacities, carrier frequencies, build materials, and so forth. If you're going to spend good money on something that you'll probably carry with you all day, you should be happy with every aspect of it.05-01-2014 09:42 PM
This is why I never understand why some people are opposed to microSD cards and removable batteries. I wonder if these same people would be opposed to their Project Ara equivalents for storage and battery.05-02-2014 03:04 AM
- We already can gain some of the benefits of Project Ara with current phone designs. For example, if I need more storage, I can stick a microSD card into some phones. If I need more power, I can swap out the stock battery and replace it with an extended battery. If I were to do the same thing with Project Ara, I would just remove the stock modules and replace them with higher capacity ones for storage and battery.
This is why I never understand why some people are opposed to microSD cards and removable batteries. I wonder if these same people would be opposed to their Project Ara equivalents for storage and battery.
Similar logic applies to music management and apps in place of local libraries. Perhaps the divide between those who utilize removable storage and those who use it solely for the storage space is becoming larger as more people adopt services that diminish the need for the 'removable' aspect? You're right, it'll be interesting to see how people adopt Ara to suit their needs... and it would make sense that one could get a sense for how another uses their device by looking at how they configured it.05-02-2014 11:24 AM
- 05-06-2014 10:23 AMLike 1
- Android Central Community
- The Android Central Lounge
- Phone Wars
Thinking ahead: distinctive experience vs. flexible product
- By Fathi Al-Qaisi in forum Android GamesReplies: 1Last Post: 02-22-2015, 06:40 AM
- By doitmx in forum Android AppsReplies: 1Last Post: 07-03-2014, 11:17 PM
- By Gutsygamestan in forum Android AppsReplies: 1Last Post: 05-11-2014, 11:49 AM
- By Rlambo in forum General Help and How ToReplies: 0Last Post: 05-01-2014, 12:33 PM
- By jipr in forum Motorola Droid UltraReplies: 0Last Post: 05-01-2014, 10:44 AM
LINK TO POST COPIED TO CLIPBOARD