Three Areas Where The Smartphone Industry Needs Universal Quality Standards

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Over the past 30 years, mobile devices have become a huge part of our lives. A recent study found that the average user touches his or her phone more than 2,600 times every day!

In an industry with so much demand across the globe, it seems like there is a fancy new device or feature coming out every week. However, through all the glamour and glitz, the standards of hardware quality tend to get lost in the shuffle. A prime example would be how the infamous Samsung Note 7 dominated headlines in the latter half of 2016 for its tendency to explode. The U.S. Department of Transportation even issued an emergency order to ban this device from airplanes.

This was perhaps the tipping point where many people came to the realization that there needs to be a rock-solid set of standards in place to avoid these types of safety risks. In fact, following the fiasco, the South Korean government issued a number of new, stricter regulations for mobile phone manufacturers within the country.

In a perfect world, mobile devices should be designed and manufactured not only on principles of an intuitive UX, but with a high regard to user well-being.

Currently, the smartphone industry doesn’t adhere to any sort of universal criteria in terms of quality assurance. Most aspects of the devices are subjective to the person or firm testing the product. Here are three areas that stand to benefit the most from a unified system.

Touch responsiveness

Touch responsiveness is defined by the time it takes for a user to see a reaction after an input. While there are no severe risks to human health, a smartphone’s responsiveness plays a huge role in the overall usability of the device. This concept is known as “touch latency.” If it’s shoddy, the UX is downgraded and can be extremely inconvenient, while rendering many of the core functions useless.

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There are three potential bottlenecks that determine the degree of touch latency.

  1. Tap latency: The time it takes between when the user presses or lifts their finger on the touch panel to when something happens on the display.
  2. Initial move latency: The time from when the first touch interaction occurs until something happens on the display as a result. Entering in a phone’s passcode would be an example.
  3. Move latency: The same concept as the initial move latency, only it is measured in later actions during swipe movements.

Issues with these metrics can be much more than skin deep. There are many contributing factors that determine touch responsiveness. It can be the application being used, software update, device configuration, and more. All the steps in the touch latency contribute to the overall latency of the device’s system, all of which make up the UX. If the responsiveness isn’t impeccable, buyers have no problem switching devices and not looking back.

For the good of the consumers and smartphone manufacturers, a universal set of standards for touch latency would drastically improve usability, and ultimately, customer retention.

Asset Science recently released a robot that runs top-to-bottom diagnostics on mobile devices. These tests can be executed in a factory setting, regional repair shop, or in-hand. Touchscreen responsiveness for both Android and iOS devices is one of the major factors this robot tests. It collects a wide range of data to analyze overall device health. The end goal is to provide quick solutions that reduce overall risk when reselling or insuring a device.

This robot will be available to networks of local shops and cellphone carrier service-provider branches. As a result, users will be able to get granular information regarding their smartphone’s hardware before sending it back to be replaced.

Battery durability

The more mobile technology advances, the more battery issues arise. Improper usage can lead to a number of hazards such as deformation, overheating, or in extreme cases, exploding.

On a more common level, using a smartphone day in and day out for a number of years can significantly deplete the charge storing capability. Many have been in the situation where their phone consistently runs out of juice halfway through the day.

Given the events of the doomed Samsung Note 7, the need for an agreed-upon procedure to test battery health is essential. Ideally, there should to be a universally understood criteria that defines a safe, usable battery.

On the surface level, the unit should have to pass an approved diagnostic that exhibits that the battery is free of oil stains, scuffs, cracks, concave/convex areas, and has flawless input/output points.

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Getting into the functionality, the measurements need to meet determined standards in relation to battery resistance, charging ability, voltage, and lifecycle.

Rewa, an electronics aftermarket solution provider, has a reliable system in place for testing cell phone battery health. They analyze everything in relation to the appearance, charging capability, how the energy is exerted to the functionality, and of course, the drop test.

The battery to a smartphone is the equivalent of a heart to a human. Any small defect can be dangerous, and in some cases, detrimental. Therefore, to avoid any mishaps, there needs to be a universally agreed-upon definition with which a smartphone battery must comply before it gets into the hands of consumers.

Screen brightness

It’s a common fact that we spend a great deal of time staring at our smartphone screens. Unfortunately, the long-lasting effects of this phenomenon are not yet completely known.

The brightness of your phone’s screen can be incredibly dangerous, especially if you stare at it before bed. Over time, the effects can decrease the sharpness of your vision and can even lead to blindness! This is known as “digital eye strain.” A study conducted by The Vision Council found that over 60% of respondents claimed they experienced symptoms of digital eyestrain.

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Smartphones emit HEV light (blue light). This part of the visible light spectrum composes light with the shortest wavelengths. These have the greatest potential to cause damage to living tissue.

Smart devices, in general, are very much in their infancy stages, making the current generations of users the guinea pigs for how screen brightness impacts overall health.

F.lux is a smart tool that automatically changes the amount of blue light your smartphone screen emits based on the time of day. In the morning, the light is bright and crisp, while in the evening, it gives off a reddish-gold light designed to make you feel sleepy as you scroll through your newsfeed.

Users need to understand how to avoid the harmful, long-term effects of smartphone lighting. In 50 years, we don’t want to look back knowing the devices we loved so much cost us our vision.

Parting words

When anything goes wrong with a smartphone, people are quick to jump to conclusions. Given the widespread usage, there needs to be a bulletproof system in place to periodically test mobile devices and assess hardware health.

For the good of human health and sanity, a universally accepted set of standards can be a game-changer in revolutionizing the mobile phone industry for the better.

For more on mobile trends, see Building A Mobile Culture In A Mobile-First World.

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