IR blasters, hulk-strong corning and Gorilla glass screens, quad and octa-core processors, 64GB onboard memories and ultra-pixels cameras. These are just a few of the core specs of high end smartphones today. There was a time, barely a decade ago, when a phone was just a phone – making calls, sending text messages and occasional checking emails. Smartphones today have as much power as gaming computers pack and equipping space equipment with smartphone processors is not new. But what is the future of high end smartphones? Can they get better than they are today? And if yes, what will the future high end smartphones be like? Here is my take.
It’s all hardware
Hardware is what separate high end smartphones from mid-range and budget phones. The current high end smartphones feature a 5 inch 1080p HD screen, a quad-core 2 GHz processor, a 13 megapixels camera which can record video in HD, a 2,400 mAh battery and 64GB onboard memory. There are of course some smartphones in the market at the moment with better specs than these, take Samsung’s latest high end smartphone Galaxy S4 with an octa-core processor for example. A phone with such high performance hardware currently retails at between $500 and $750, but if history is anything to go by, it takes only about a year or a year and half for prices to drop by up to $200.
Future smartphones will take hardware performance to a whole new high. Within the next 2 to 3 years, we will see smartphones with up to 100 times faster processors than the current 2 GHz. When Nvidia announced their plans for the next five years, their Volta CPU aims at breaching the memory bandwidth for GPU problem that most processors have today.
Extra goodies are also what makes phones today ‘smart’. Just a couple of days ago, HTC launched their flagship smartphone HTC One which has an IR blaster that effectively turns it into a remote controller. It will not be long before IR is standard in smartphones and tablets, just the way GPS is now standard.
Another subject of development is the camera, which is getting better with each unveiling. HTC recently introduced a camera with ultrapixels and there is talk of Samsung having acquired a patent for 3D cameras. It will just be a year or so before we start seeing new technology that brings better imagery.
Another area that manufacturers are putting a lot of effort in is device control. Touch-free navigation may have been around for a while now, but things are just getting better – you can scroll with your eye or gesture your phone to perform an action.
Other special features I cannot get into right now are better connectivity including expanded functionalities in NFC, better build materials that are lighter and stronger, unbreakable screens and intelligent software.