A Striking Design

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A Striking Design

Easily the most important feature of any popular smartphone is its design. Devices that come with ugly cases and a big, fat footprint are not going to appeal to anyone. In order for smartphone makers to be successful, they'll need to take a page out of Apple's book and deliver a good-looking design.

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Bigger Displays

The time has come for smartphone makers to start delivering only big displays. The days of the three-inch display are dead, and one can make a solid argument that the iPhone 4S' 3.5-inch screen is also too small. At this point, displays with 4.3-inch screens and bigger are the only options worth considering.

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Better Displays, Too

Delivering a big display isn't the only thing that vendors should be planning to offer. The companies should also consider how their displays look. Apple's Retina Display, for example, is arguably the best-looking screen on the market. And the upcoming LG Spectrum comes with a screen that can match Apple's. The new maxim in smartphone design should be: The greater the screen quality, the greater the chances of a device succeeding.

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4G LTE Is Now a Requirement

There was a time when 2G networks, like EDGE, were a necessity in the mobile space. That soon turned to 3G. Nowadays, 4G Long-Term Evolution (LTE) has become the big wireless connectivity option that just about everyone in the mobile space is after. So, for a smartphone to be successful, it must connect to 4G LTE networks.

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The Latest and Greatest OS Version

Looking around the Android ecosystem, there are a host of devices running outdated versions of the operating system. Like it or not, consumers want the very latest Android version out there. So, rather than bundle Android 2.2 (Froyo) with the next smartphone, vendors should be offering Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich).

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Responsive Touch-Screens

One of the best things about Apple's iPhone 4S is that its touch-screen is responsive to any touch and gesture. That can't be said for many of the devices available nowadays, including a host of BlackBerry smartphones that lack the responsiveness customers are after. Listen up, vendors: Spend the extra cash on high-quality touch-screens. It's the smart move.

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An End to Physical Keyboards

Not to pick too much on RIM, but aside from the company's sometimes-inadequate touch-screens, it continues to force customers to physical keyboards. Say what you will about physical keys being easier to type on, but today's customer wants virtual keyboards. And it's about time RIM realizes that.

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The Right Price, Obviously

Pricing is vastly important in every single market in the technology space. But one might make a strong case by arguing that it's even more important in the smartphone market. Apple's iPhone comes in at $200 (and up), placing a benchmark in the smartphone market. If a device is more expensive than that, it had better justify its price tag with outstanding features. If it doesn't, customers will ignore it. Simply put, the price must always be right.

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Multi-Carrier Support

After a long delay, Apple finally made its iPhone carrier-agnostic, allowing customers on AT&T, Verizon Wireless and Sprint networks to buy up the device. However, in the Android ecosystem, especially, there are few companies that are following its lead. When will those carriers realize that making a solid device available to all carriers is the best way to go about smartphone sales?

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Ample Storage

Although device storage wasn't always the most important thing on consumers' minds, rest assured it now is. With more music, videos, apps and other content being tossed onto smartphones, it's no wonder 32GB is becoming the minimum amount of storage customers are after. Want to appeal to today's consumers, vendors? Deliver enough storage.

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