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I am an Optimist..

I want to be an optimist

Being a software engineer involves a lot of pessimism: a lot of thought in the software engineering process revolves around things that might go wrong, that are going wrong, that have gone wrong, or that went wrong.

Over time, professional pessimism has been bleeding over into my personal life, and many times I tend to think more of things that could go wrong than about things that are going right.

There are times, though, when I want to be an optimist against the odds, and that even applies to the world of mobile gadgets.

I want phonebloks to succeed.

This is a great idea on paper. I hope that they can manage a level of integration that makes the size, weight, price and shape competitive with integrated solutions. I hope that going through a common backplane doesn't hurt battery life or system speed. I hope that hardware drivers can be made portable enough. I hope they can resolve the issues of antenna performance on a variable-geometry device, especially for big coils like NFC or Qi. I hope that carriers will be willing to provide end-user support for those devices.

I want Firefox OS to succeed.

This is another great idea on paper. I hope they can succeed in that direction where many other companies have failed. Looking at the ZTE Open, I hope that they can provide a user experience on that class of hardware that rivals what other systems offer on devices that cost nearly ten times as much. I hope they can transparently handle the high packet losses and connection drops that make the reality of mobile devices.

I want network interoperability to be a reality.

2G GSM interoperability was a mess. It took a while for phone to be available with all 4 common bands, and that didn't stay relevant for long as UMTS was getting deployed.

UMTS was a bigger mess, and it took 5 bands to cover the US and Europe (and most of the world with the notable exception of Japan). Now that we have phones that cover all 5 bands (e.g. Galaxy Nexus, Nexus 4), LTE is getting deployed.

LTE is an even bigger mess. It takes 5 bands just to cover the common US and European GSM carriers alone, and before you know it the list grows to over a dozen without digging much. Nexus 7 manages to support 4 bands in GSM, 5 bands in UMTS and 7 bands in LTE (and the LTE bands aren't the same in all variants). Other devices don't seem to be so lucky and have fewer connectivity options.

I hope that we can quickly reach a point where LTE devices can cover a dozen different bands or more, so that they can be used while traveling.


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