Not even 10 years have passed since smartphones went mainstream - and for most of us there is no turning back. But with the technology evolving ever faster, what can we expect looking forward in anticipation of the future smartphone? In this article, let’s ponder on what can be expected of the smartphone within the next decade. The quick answer? We believe that it won’t be long before smartphones completely vanquish laptops and even desktop computers as the main computing device for average users. Does that sound impractical? Not for long, it won’t – read on for the full picture.
This is a technology that is really on the verge of surfacing at consumer level, and it will drastically redefine the displays on most mobile devices, starting maybe as soon as next year. When the folding display technology matures fully, it will likely be possible to create laptop sized displays as thing and flexible as a sheet of paper, neatly folding multiple times to conform to the expected size of a mobile phone. From then on, it shouldn’t be long at all before this kind of screen becomes the norm, since it delivers the best of both worlds: portability and convenience. At this point, tablets should get obsolete... and full-blown laptops and desktops will then be next in line for losing their throne as main computing devices.
Also at this point, you may be thinking “there’s no way that smartphones will replace laptops, because the former always lag a few years behind in terms of raw processing power”. True; but only if thought of under the present paradigm of independent, self-contained processor architectures. Well... what about tandem processing, which may arise soon? In the future, you should be able to combine multiple devices seamlessly just by putting them next to each other, thus amassing all the computer processing you need. Getting more processing power will then be as easy as adding more devices/processors to your home cloud (as opposed to buying a completely new machine).
Wi-Fi technology is amazing, but it’s barely evolved past its infancy. In the next decade, you can expect everything to be wireless – from battery charging to the actual interaction between different components of a smartphone without them necessarily having to be in the same physical package. As you may imagine, this will make way for even more futuristic designs: read on for further speculation on this matter.
Another possible big trend for the future of smartphones involves wearing said devices, instead of holding them. Possible form factors include bracelet designs (iWatch anyone?), but with a key novelty - a folding display rolls out of the bracelet when it’s needed, or even (courtesy of advanced connectivity) seamless mobile computer designs will be possible: such as wearing a pendant or ring containing the “heart” of the smartphone that synchs up instantly with other peripherals, such as goggles with a HUD, earing-style microphones and just about any other interface offering any real usefulness.
We already have Google Glass, which in future will possibly be regarded as the granddaddy device of all Augmented Reality. The whole concept of wearing a HUD (Head Up Display) will likely become pervasive as the most effective way to get visual feedback from your mobile device. Together with flawless Voice Controls, this will make it very natural and intuitive to interact with your surroundings in quite the futuristic fashion. Can you imagine?
Flawless Voice Controls
Another technology that made fast strides in the past few years involves the possibility of controlling a smartphone using voice commands. If you’ve tried Siri or Android’s own Voice Controls, you realize this feature already works rather decently. But can you image what it will be like when voice controls become virtually flawless, 100% reliable in picking up your commands accurately and promptly executing your instructions? What will happen is that touchscreens will no longer be the main way that people interact with their smartphones. Without second thought, you’ll find yourself saying things like “Android, show me the recipe for this banana bread I’m mixing here; also, pull up the Wiki page so I can learn about who invented the banana bread while I’m at it.”
As you can see, most of the technologies mentioned here are either already real or they will very soon be. Looking at the big picture, what you can expect from the future is for smartphones to become even more widespread, and average users will have no valid reason to need or even want conventional computers. In fact, people of the future may look at the current “standard full-size” computing devices as being as old-fashioned and crude as the original room-sized computers
currently appear to us. What do you think? Is that too far-fetched? Or do you think it won’t even take an entire decade for all the above innovations to bloom? Checkout Dom's Tech Blog
for prophetical as well as practical articles on the present and future of everything computer related.