10 HTC One (M8) Features to Look for - dummies

10 HTC One (M8) Features to Look for

By Bill Hughes

With the power of your HTC One and the flexibility offered in Android applications development, it can be difficult to imagine that even more capabilities could be in the works. In spite of this, the following are ten features that would improve the usability and value of your HTC One phone.

Fill ’er up — wirelessly

Connecting the micro-USB cable to your HTC One to charge it isn’t that big a deal. On the other hand, it could be easier. These days the technology exists to make that connection easier. You can charge your phone wirelessly by putting it on a special mat, for instance, and the charge flows wirelessly into your phone.

Several companies make wireless charging solutions. In addition, the Wireless Power Consortium offers Qi — a standard for wireless charging. The idea is that multiple manufacturers would make Qi-compliant charging mats that would power Qi-compliant phones, regardless of manufacturer.

Smarter customer care for your phone

You may not realize this, but your cellular carrier lives on pins and needles during the first few weeks after you get your new phone. This is the period when you can return your phone, no questions asked. Once you go past that date, you can’t cancel your contract without a lot of hassle on your part.

This is why, if you bring your phone back to the store reporting a problem, your carrier will tend to swap out your old phone for a brand new one.

This is where smarter customer care comes in. With the proper tools, you can work with a product expert to troubleshoot your phone. Some companies specialize in understanding the underlying problems and coming up with solutions for consumers. This kind of customer care costs the carriers a little more, but it makes for fewer unnecessary returns of perfectly good phones — and for much happier customers.

Control of other home electronics

You can use your HTC to control your TV. That is good start. Now how about the other electronics in your home?

Traditional home appliances are getting smarter. A problem they have is that adding rows of buttons (so you can control those new capabilities) complicates manufacture. So the next generation of appliances has begun to add a small LCD screen to the appliance. This can look slick, but it costs a lot and is prone to breakage. Also, the fancy capabilities involve pushing a confusing combination of buttons with cryptic messages displayed on a tiny screen.

The latest idea is to omit the screen altogether, and to give you control of the settings through an application on your smartphone. Your appliance keeps the basic buttons, but lets you use the fancy capabilities by setting them through your phone. You would just download the free application made by the manufacturer from the Google Play Store, and have your beautiful and logical user interface to control your new product. No strings attached.

Entertainment selector

The traditional view is that you sit in front of your TV when you want to be entertained and sit at your PCs when you want to do something productive or communicate electronically. These clear distinctions have blurred since it became possible to watch movies and TV on a PC.

Now that you have HD resolution on your phone, it’s not unreasonable to use your phone to do some channel surfing. When you find what you want, and if it’s convenient, you switch to the big-screen TV.

Today, you need to open the right applications or select the right channels. It would be convenient if your phone communicated with the TV and so it would find the right program, and vice versa. It would be slick if the phone watched your eyes and detected when you have taken them off the TV screen, just as it can when you take your eyes off the phone screen.

Information finder

Your phone is becoming the preferred tool for accessing information. The screen, the convenience of the search tools, and the apps all contribute to your phone being the primary source of daily information in lieu of your PC.

What this means to you is that your investment in your next PC should take into account how you use your smartphone. You may need less PC, depending on your information-collection habits.

More and better health sensors

Currently, you can get devices that track a single function, such as heartbeat or the oxygen level in your blood. These sensors are just the beginning.

These devices have the potential to improve your health. It won’t be too long before first responders can have the information to render better services faster because they’ll know many of the patient’s vital signs (via smartphone) before they even leave the station.

Better 911 services

Your smartphone is designed to work with data at up to 300 million bits per second. When you call 911, the phone that answers your call is designed to work with data at up to 120 bits per second.

Many states and regions are trying to address this problem. This effort is called next-generation 911 or NG911. NG911 promises to make the information you already have on your phone available to the people who are sending you help. This new technology is slowly being implemented region by region in different states and counties.

With a larger data pipeline between your smartphone and the first responders, you can send anything that’s relevant, including medical history, your emergency contacts, insurance data, and whether you have any protection orders against stalkers. All this information can help you — and it’s available right away because regardless of where you happen to be, your phone is typically there with you.

Simpler Bluetooth pairing

Paring with Bluetooth devices is pretty darn simple. It would be nice if it were even simpler. Having the application handle all the settings. Downloading an app is easy from Google Play Store. All Bluetooth devices come with an app that helps you set up, even if all the app does is handle the pairing.

More body English/less tapping

Tapping is easy, but tilting or twisting your screen can be a more natural motion. Your HTC One has a very accurate accelerometer that can also tell the game what to do with the bowling ball, tennis racket, or whatever.

Up to now, very few applications or games have taken advantage of this capability. All the elements are there in the device to enable it to interpret gestures. The apps just need to take advantage of those elements.

Serving you better

The smartphone is what companies use to find a better way to serve you. This will show up in a few ways.

The first is in much better mobile advertising. In the future, your phone may tell you about a sale going on when you walk by a store in the mall. That is cool. Even cooler is to be told that a particular model is on sale and that this particular sale is the best in town by over $20.

The second way smartphones are enhancing service is by automating the order-taking process. For example, wherever you see a video kiosk, that company can allow you to interact with the kiosk via your HTC One. Some fast-food restaurants have installed kiosks so that customers can bypass the line to order from the menu. The items are totaled and paid for by credit card. The customer steps aside and waits for the order.