The fast evolution of today’s smartphones is a reminder that technology has now become an important aspect of our life. Millions of people around the world own a smartphone. It is expected that millions more will have access to smartphones in the next few years. It is clear that the smartphone sector is now evolving at a fast rate and will continue to do so in the near future. Smartphones are now becoming smaller, sleeker, and better at giving users private space of technology-centric functionality even in the midst of a crowd. The parallel developments in processing speed and innovative features adds to the uniqueness and convenience for users . Out-of-the-box features are being introduced continuously and several futuristic concepts for smartphones are but becoming mundane today.
Smartphones now are also much more than just phones as they become powerful, and highly networked devices over the years. As such, smartphones have transformed many of our everyday day-to-day routines like the way we educate, train, collaborate, sell, and communicate.
Let’s take a look at some of the important technological developments that will enhance smartphones in the coming decade.
Amazing networking functionality
Smartphones in the near future should be able to interface with smart surfaces. There are already smart devices that uses touch and voice-operated screens running on tabletop computers with Internet access. By simply placing a user’s smartphone on these surfaces, the two devices will establish connection linking them, facilitating faster file movement. Also, a user’s intelligent agent will be able to flow from his or her smartphone to the screen.
Virtual personal assistant
While Apple’s Siri is not that great when it was introduced, ultra intelligent agents in the future will only become smarter.
The future versions of Siri can transform into real virtual personal assistants by searching the web for relevant and focused information you will need. This functionality will depend on how well your intelligent agent knows you by determining your needs, likes, and preferences. Your digital assistant will know how to keep your records and/or logs, present, and share other information you may find useful.
You can also customize how your personal assistant will look by choosing a face and personality for it. You will also see celebrities allowing you to use their digital likeness and personality to be used as personal assistants for a fee.
A great feature of smartphones in the next few years would be the absence of screens. Smartphones will evolve into a devices that link with other devices or even with the senses of other people and machines directly.
It may take a while for traditional smartphone with a screen to become obsolete but there will be an option for a screenless smartphone before the decade is done. This concept will be popular and will be fully supported because it eliminates the need for a big battery.
A good visual example would be the small jewelry worn by characters of the “Star Trek” TV show. Touch and voice technology will become an important cornerstone for future smartphones. Tapping a smartphone will let you connect to an intelligent agent, which is also constantly wired to the cloud. Your intelligent agent will verbally give you whatever information you need like reading your emails, street directions, among others.
So far, there are two key technologies that makes this concept available in within the decade: the laser based displays and brain waves sensing technology. Microelectromechanical Systems (MEMS)-based laser projectors will project pictures directly on your retinas without affecting normal vision, allowing for a mixed reality vision. The advantage of laser based displays is its size–its too small that it can now be built into eyeglasses.
Brain waves sensing technology is a more advanced concept that will make smartphones totally screen-free. This one will allow us to control the functions of the mind creating a totally hands free environment. Together with eye tracking technology, direct brain connectivity will be an ideal touchless input for smartphones. This may sound far fetched but major universities have been reporting about brain implants in lab rats and humans from time to time. Some commercial applications dealing with noninvasive coupling with human brain signals are also being studied and reported. A recent report by a Japanese company indicated that cat ears designed to be worn on the human head can be manipulated with nothing but the mind.
As cloud computing technology becomes more advanced, it is but just a matter of time that smartphones and computers connected to cloud will be programmed to receive continuous stream of information helping create greater situational awareness to users.
This concept is already operational as we speak. Smartphones are becoming mobile wallets, paving the way for the eventual disappearance of credit cards in the future. Google introduced its mobile wallet in partnership with Citi MasterCard right now. It is planned to work with other credit cards in the near future. This technology allows you to pay items securely by simply using a smartphone.
Mobile wallet will replace leather wallets. The additions of NFC or Near Field Communications chips in some smartphones like in Samsung Galaxy S3 is a good example. NFC chips are cheap but secure way of paying something so this will readily become a hit in the future.
Biometric solution for security issues
Using personally identifiable features is a good alternative to resolve security problems. Biometric security is especially useful in ensuring that access is only granted to an authorized personnel. It also eliminates the need to have numerous passwords. This will be implemented by using greatly improved screen resolution and sensors on smartphones.
One of the common biometric authentications is the one based on fingerprint. Additionally, the front facing camera can also use facial recognition to scan your face and recognize you. Another authentication technology is voice recognition. Anyone’s voice is unique so this technology can also be used as one of the few biometric authentication/ security process.
Your own unique way to handle your phone like maneuver patterns, keystrokes, touch patterns can also be harnessed for additional security. Some users may use a number of biometric authentications to increase the level of security for whatever they are doing. For instance, you may want to use only fingerprint authentication when accessing your Facebook account, though you may want to use a combination of authentications when trying to access your bank account.
These things are just some of the anticipated advances that we will in the future as smartphone technology continues to evolve. Right now, these concepts are still in their early stages. It’s just a matter of who will be the first one to implement them.