A glimpse into the future of the smartphone

3 06 2010

Wristband phone prototype

Smartphone technology has advanced vastly over the past decade.  What used to be a barely functional oversized devise, is now a slick, multitouch capablecomputer, that fits right in your pocket. So much has been achieved in the past ten years, it seems as if smartphones can’t get any smarter.  However the current generation smartphones are just the beginning to a forever advancing industry.  So what will the future have in store for our smartphones?  Will there be holographic technology built in?  Or how about a screen that can bend?  Or maybe a phone that can record movie quality video?  All of this is more possible than it sounds.  After looking back on the two previous posts on the advancement of smartphone technology and multi touch functionality, we are certain to be amazed when future smartphones are released to the world. (With every new smartphone tech that finds its way to market.)  With so many areas of advancement to come it’s hard to focus on one, so let’s just start with the most important, the Phone operating system. [1]

Operating System

Throughout the past ten years, smartphone technology has advanced vastly.  What used to be a device that could just make phone calls and send text messages now can take photos, videos, run applications and so much more.  So what is in store for smartphones of the future?  The answer to that question is simple.  Smartphones of the future will be extremely fast and functional, similar to that of your computer.  Your phone will be able to run applications that only computers can run now, and might soon be the most important device you will ever own, and it fits right into you pocket.  Applications such as Adobe Photoshop will be able to run smoothly for editing on the go, thanks to improvements with CPU speed.  Your phone will be able to capture high resolution photos that are up to par with most digital cameras. They will also be able to record high definition videos up to 1080p resolution, which is unheard of now in the phone industry.  Imagine being able to capture an important moment in high definition without a video camera, and the phone’s high processing speed will let you work with that footage seamlessly.  With such high computing capability, phones will be able to multitask similar to a computer.  Have you ever been playing a game on your phone, and then receive a text message?  You have to quit out of the game and then reply to the message in a separate screen.  With the ability to multitask, you will be able to switch over to the text message screen without closing any applications, and without any slowdown or lag.  Phones will also be able to run games that are comparable to current generation consoles, so you can leave the Snake application behind and play a fully loaded, online capable video game on the go.  Your future phone will always be connected to the internet, other people, etc., and with that comes new and improved cell phone networks. [1,3,4,5,9]


4G speeds vs 3G speeds

It is no doubt that future phone networks will be vastly improved over current generation networks.  Whether its 4G networks, VoIP, or WiMAX, it’s a great improvement.  4G networks have already been released to only a few providers but it provides for vastly improved speeds over 3G networks.  (See Graph).  The appearance of widely used 4G networks will happen very shortly.  Almost every company will be supporting it.  VoIP is another emerging service that could be used everywhere in the future.  It stands for Voice Over Internet Protocol.  Basically, you will be able to use you phone to make calls and send text messages over the internet.  All you need is internet service, and the calls and messages would be free.  Could this mean that there will be no more cellular networks?  It is quite possible that we will see the decline of cellular networks with the emergence of VoIP AND WiMAX.  WiMAX is generally the same idea as VoIP but extends the range by great numbers.  In order to use WiMAX you would need a gateway, or dongle to distribute the service.  These could be in your house or anywhere throughout a town.  Each gateway can provide up to 30 miles in coverage.  Thats right, imagine being able to connect to your gateway 30 miles from home.  Not only is that intriguing, WiMAX can offer speeds up to 40 Mbits per second.  Thats unheard of for a cell phone service.  Also these could be set up around the country for cheaper than the cost of cell phone towers, and for faster speeds.  Sounds practical doesn’t it.  I don’t think there will be a problem getting people to ditch their cell phone service for WiMAX service.  I know I will. [5,6,7,10]

How VoIP Works

WiMAX Speeds

Appearance and Functionality

Clear Phone

One of the most exciting aspects of future phones to look at is appearance.  How a phone looks may not have anything to do with how the phone will function internally, but some external features are greatly improved.  Most picture you find on the internet of future devices are mostly prototypes, and are not in development, but could very possibly be the next phone you have in your hand.  The reason for this is because most companies usually don’t release many photos or details on the phone until it’s close to release date.  However, the prototypes are out there for everyone to enjoy.

Imagine having a phone the size of Milky Way bar, and to open it, it fans out like a portable fan.  The blade of the fan would be the bendable touchscreen.  This would allow for great protection of the screen and allow great portability.  How about a phone that looks just like a piece of glass.  It’s completely see through and with hologram and touchscreen technology, it could function like any other touchscreen phone.

Fan phone

Roll up phone

Imagine rollin out an old scroll, except for in the future, the paper would be a flexible touchscreen that was rolled up into a compact, flash drive sized device.

Hand phone

How about a phone that you could wear as a watch, and the ear piece and microphone would be located on your finger and thumb.  All you would have to to talk would be to push a button, then simply put your hand to your head.  Although the prototype seems a little bulky, that would soon change after years of development.

One of my favorite prototypes is the Ubik device.  It is an extremely small cube shaped phone, but does more than what it seems.  It can fold out into an iphone sized device.  The touchscreen actually folds down to be only a quarter inch thick.  It can also take quick snapshots even when its closed.  This phone would literally fit inside of a cassette player, with the functionality of any other multitouch smartphone.


There are many other prototypes out there that will change the way we use cell phones and it is extremely exciting to see a glimpse into what we might be using in the future.  And these prototypes are only considering the near future.  Try and think of what we could be using 30 years from now.  A hologram phone? Who knows.  All we can do is wait and see. [1,3,8,12]

Professional photography

Everyone who owns a smartphone knows that they can capture images and video with their device, but in order to take professional quality photographs and videos, you need an expensive camera.  That could soon change.  Future phones, as mentioned earlier, will be able to capture high definition photos and video.  You will be able to take photos to up to 12 megapixels, and even higher.  The digital camera that I own can only shoot 6 megapixels.  Quite a difference.  Phones could also be able to record videos on 1080p resolution.  Thats high enough to look great on you 42 inch lcd screen.  All of this can be done simply with your cell phone.  This is groundbreaking in the world of cell phones.  Below is a video of the Sony Ericsson Satio, demoing it’s 12.1 megapixel camera. [1,3,5,11,]

Final Thoughts

The future of smartphones is upon us, and is coming faster than most people expected.  It will not be long before you own a smartphone from the future.  The phones we own now can already do amazing tasks, and these tasks will just get easier.  And just think back to what we have already learned in this blog.  These concepts wouldn’t even be plausible if it wasn’t for rapidly advancing technology.  And this isn’t only happening in the cell phone industry, but every single industry in our world today.  Welcome to the future ladies and gentlemen, we are living in it.

















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