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Dear Santa / LG / Verizon: How about a phone camera revolution?

Zymoticus
Miembro

As some others have underscored here, there's currently a paltry variety among Verizon's basic phones.  Yes, I realize that the comically-misnamed "smart" phones are all the rage and by far the biggest market segment just now, but there is also a market segment that is just as adamant in their refusal to jump onto that overkill bandwagon.  I don't want to become one of those rather pathetic-looking zombies wandering around with their faces buried in their combination phone/mobile computer/music player/GPS hall monitor/social networking machines.  I just need a phone, and the one extra that I find useful, a camera.

I doubt I'm alone in noting that no basic flip phone has a camera with anything greater than 1.3 MP.  1.3 megapixel cameras are mid-1990s technology.  They're technological dinosaurs, like 8-track tapes and the Eniac.  Why can't Verizon approach a phone manufacturer with a no-brainer proposal to bring 2012-era camera technology to phones?  How about putting a decent-sized image sensor and a quality lens into at least one phone in each of Verizon's tiers of phone types, from basic flip phones up to top-of-the-line "smart" phones?  How about offering at least one no-frills flip phone with an outstanding camera?


There's no reason why my choice to eschew the "smart" phone overkill for a simple phone with text and camera should force me to settle for a toy camera as a matter of course.  Here's a point to consider, Verizon: 

I can't speak for anyone else, but the initial, one-time cost of the phone is not that big an issue for me.  I'm not staying away from "smart" phones because I don't want to pay umpty-hundred dollars for one, I'm staying away from them because I do not want or need the complexity, the functionality-duplication with computers, or the jacked-up monthly bills they require.  I want a no-frills phone and a no-frills plan, but I'm not necessarily opposed to paying a higher initial cost for a basic phone that has some meaty hardware options.  When my trusty six-year-old LG8350 lost its ear speaker function, I nearly went for that indestructible Casio Ravine - but balked at the news that its camera was reviewed as mediocre.  (Plus I've learned that LG is worthy of its reputation for quality and am reluctant to switch to another manufacturer.)

So how about this idea:  Make Verizon synonymous with the best-quality cameras in the cellphone business - on every single phone it offers?  True, that's problematic because different phone manufacturers serve multiple phone companies.  So get an exclusive manufacturing contract already.  Lawyers have to be good for something.  But what I'm talking about here is industry leadership:  Given that the entire cellphone industry is inexplicably dancing around the subject of phone cameras - essentially asking customers to "settle" for substandard crap and pretending it's an acceptable norm in 2012 - the door is wide open for one company (such as Verizon, f'rinstance,) to step way, way ahead of the pack by leading a revolution in phone camera quality that will shock the rest of the pack and leave them flailing, bewildered, in the dust.  

A better-quality camera is the one thing I invariably hear everyone I know mention as the #1 thing they wish their phones had.  I'd happily pay an additional chunk of cash for even the simplest phone if it had a quality lens from someone like Leica or Zeiss, and the biggest sensor that can be physically jammed into a phone housing. Another idea would be to coax a phone manufacturer to design its entire line of phones, from flip to "smart," with some kind of modular camera section that would allow vendors like Verizon to offer the options of "No frills phone with cheapo no frills camera" or "No frills phone with the Full Monty camera."  I'm envisioning a design that would allow different levels of camera quality to be integrated, order-by-order, into everything from the cheapest flip phone to top-of-the-line, or not, as the order may demand.  IOW, LG or whoever could design a standard physical interface into all of its phone housings, from bottom to top of the line, that would allow either-or configuration of the camera for every phone, during the manufacturing process, with no need to create separate designs for every one.  It's a concept NASA has been doing with its robotic probes in its old X2000 program, later MSAP:  Develop a standardized core that's configurable to multiple end uses,so as to obviate the need to reinvent the wheel for every different application. 'Same concept here, basically, only in reverse:  Create an interchangeable camera module that allows for easily configuring any level of phone with whichever level of camera quality a customer orders, without needing to create umpty different variations of each different phone model. 

 

Long story short: 1.3 megapixel cameras with Fisher-Price kiddie-toy plastic lenses are not just anachronistic to 2012, they're an inexplicable quality hole that is no longer justifiable, if it ever was.  No offense to Fisher-Price. We're just... not kids.  If you're going to put cameras into phones, do it like you mean it.  Customers have been waiting patiently for phone manufacturers to get with the program on camera quality for years, and so far not a single one of them has stepped up.

Which means that Verizon, LG, or ...whoever, is sitting on a potential gold mine.

D'OH!  'Scuse the book.

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Re: Dear Santa / LG / Verizon: How about a phone camera revolution?

21stNow
Sr. Member

My idea is that if camera quality is important, buy a stand-alone camera that meets your specifications and get the phone that meets your specifications. You talk about (in a negative way) people who choose to have computer functions in a phone, but seek to justify wanting high-end camera functions in a phone. This is the pot calling the kettle black.

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Re: Dear Santa / LG / Verizon: How about a phone camera revolution?

Zymoticus
Miembro

That little flame likely made for an emotionally-gratifying post, but 21stNow strenuously side-stepped at least two different points in order to get his personal rush:

1. Pot / kettle.   I think we're seeing something here that psychologists call "projection."  I'm pretty sure nobody is suggesting that people who like to walk around with their faces buried in iPhones and full-blown web apps should have to "buy a stand-alone computer" and drag that along with them in addition to their phones.  But here we have someone suggesting that carrying two chunks of hardware around to cover functions that cellphone manufacturers are already making pretensions at providing, is somehow a viable proposition?  By what standard of logic?

2. People who want multiple data / computer / internet functions on their phones have ample hardware choices that provide them;  people who only want basic services with a decent camera, do not.  They have the choice (singular) of: the toy camera.  And the ones in the top-of-the-line 4G phones aren't a whole lot better.

3. What I'm suggesting here, and what 21stNow apparently couldn't be bothered to read, is a complete rethinking and retooling of the whole concept of cellphone cameras - at all levels, from basic flip phones to 4G whizbang mega-data phones and everything between. 

Again, if you're going to put a camera in the phone, put a camera in the phone.

Now if 21stNow wants to have his "last word," that's just fine for him and I won't waste any more of my time on it.  My purpose in posting this here is to get the idea out there for Verizon to think about, not engage in juvenile flame wars (is there any other kind?) Geez.  Rational discussion - wherever such may be found - gladly welcomed.

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Re: Dear Santa / LG / Verizon: How about a phone camera revolution?

21stNow
Sr. Member

First, 21stNow is a "she", not a "he".  Second, I don't seek the last word, so that's not the point of this post.  Third, that was not a flame war.  That was rational discussion for something that was suggested and desired, but not likely to occur.  Even if you took it as a flame war, you would be admitting that your side came off as combative because there are two sides to a war.

A similar idea to the one that you proposed has been tossed around by those that admit that it probably won't happen.  There are people who suggest that phones should be able to be customized or special ordered to meet the individual users' specification requests.  Many who want physical keyboards on phones want something like this, as there are very few high-end smartphones with physical keyboards.  There are also suggestions for basic phones with better screens and larger fonts.  Short of made-to-order phones, this isn't likely to happen.

Many people make the suggestion to even smartphone users that if they want to use a high-end camera, that they should get a stand-alone camera.  It's not hardly a bad thing to suggest.  Everything from basic phones to smartphones are made with the idea that it is a phone first while everything else is secondary.  I realize this and I'm one of the "phone last" users.

Even though your post was long, I did read the entire thing.  However, it seems like you only wanted opinions that agreed with yours or patted you on the back for coming up with this.  Even in discussions, differing opinions will arise.  I made a suggestion that was more realistic in meeting your needs and wants right now, instead of saying "hey, keep your dream going.  Maybe Verizon Wireless will listen to you!".  Verizon Wireless doesn't manufacture phones.  A request like this would have been better made with the manufacturer rather than the carrier.  Specifically, Nokia likes to put some impressive (on paper) cameras in phones.  Reaching out to them would probably produce better results than asking a carrier for different hardware.