I had an interesting conversation with a few technology guys last week and one thing we sat for some hours talking about was, what exactly would the smartphone look like in 10 years time? It’s a fact that we are all now glued to these devices, whether at home, at work or on the move generally but it’s also a fact that they won’t look the same in the future, so just what will they turn in to? Here’s 5 scenarios we thought could all have a fighting chance!
1. The wearable
Perhaps the most commonly touted future of the smartphone is the wearable and as technology gets smaller, more powerful and simply better, we could all be fashioning smartphones, but in various form factors. I think that this is going to happen to some degree as we’re seeing the beginnings of this potentially huge market already with Smart watches, rings, clothing and more already here but whether there’s a form factor that can pull off exactly what we need when we want information is another thing entirely. The big question here is whether wearables could be used stand alone or still require a smartphone to function much like they do today.
2. The Smartphone server
So pushing the above model onwards I think in the shorter term at least we’ll see our behaviours change in so much as we won;t be pulling the smartphone out of our pockets as much as wearables give us the majority of data we need.
The Apple watch already does this really well considering it’s a first stab at doing this, with a special SDK for cut down versions of what we need like weather, stocks and communication. Rather than getting out our smartphone, unlocking it and getting what we need with our heads buried deep in the device, we’ll see a shift to a more interruptive model that only satisfies our data needs when there really is one.
3. IOT on steroids!
But, another scenario that is looking ever more realistic is the “Internet Of Things” one. The whole IOT concept sits on top of shifting the whole way we obtain and use information away from the “pull from smartphone” model so rather than getting your phone out, loading an app and then pulling a refreshed set of data to check on that parcel tracking, perhaps the parcel will know where it is and communication with beacons along it’s way to you. Why would you need a smartphone to pull that data if it is self aware by communicating with you?
Some of the most mature solutions in this area are home central heating servers where the best ones don’t expect you to be doing all the work, they try to work out your habits and present you with the best heating map possible depending on your behaviours and rules you set the system. Get that right and the need for an app or the smartphone is reduced significantly.
4. Stays the same
Well I don’t agree but we’re all so stuck to our smartphones these days that, like books and magazines, perhaps the lure of the smartphone and the way we do things now just won’t be beaten any time soon. The fact is we are all creatures of habit and smartphone usage is not just about what we need, it’s also about what we love to do as well. Whilst IOT based devices all serve a wonderful future possibility, just how does that serve to browse the internet or play a time filling game or all the other useless things we do while on the move that we have come to love so much! Technology advances in screen sizes, fold-able screens, better battery life and all kinds of ergonomic advances mean that whilst the smartphone itself might look very different in 10 years time, it might still fundamentally be the same! Maybe, just maybe the smartphone is perfect and will take decades to move away from from.
5. Integrated devices
When I wonder about the future of technology I always end up turning to TV and film as they very often get it right!! Take Start Trek for example, who’d have thought in the 60’s we would have had a handheld communication device, turn to the next generation and we see tablets, personalised badges that can be used to find a person as well as communicate with them and many more things that have become reality over the years.
Maybe the personal device will die and we’ll see a much more integrated world where we can communicate with machines and each other in a much more “human” way, cutting the ties to a personal device as we know it today.
Technology is already here that will recognise who’s in the car, who’s sat in front of the TV at home and who’s doing what at work so perhaps the future lies in a world that is far more intelligent and connected than today and one where we can all connect and disconnect as humans from it as we want to.
So there we go, a bit wacky today I know but I needed to get this out of my system for sure!!
next time we’ll get back to some more serious stuff. See you soon!