The first mobile phone, a Motorola DynaTAC prototype, was showcased in the early 1970s and became commercially available in 1983. It was a massive piece of equipment, with the size and weight of a standard brick – which earned it the nickname “brick phone”. Mobile phones have been evolving ever since, becoming more efficient and more powerful with each generation. Today’s smartphones are incredibly powerful compared to their ancestors: they have massive screens, fast and energy-efficient processors, high-quality cameras, and insane amounts of storage under their hood. But smartphone development is stuck at the classic “slate” form factor, and everything this allows manufacturers to cram into it.
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In the last few years, we haven’t seen many truly innovative features make it on our smartphones – most of the time, they were improvements to what already existed. 5G brings better voice quality and faster internet, foldable displays only come with more screen size that still fits in our pockets, and the better cameras on our phones’ backs are just that – better cameras.
We’ll likely see even more of the same in the near future: better integration of our phones with our wearables, improved battery life, better security, and the introduction of better augmented reality and maybe VR capabilities that will add an extra dimension to the fun we have on our phone.
But how about the truly big things that will change the smartphone forever, as the touchscreen did in 2007? There are some promising new features in the works already that may just do the trick.
If a few years ago, the question was “can you gamble on your phone”, in a few years, we’ll need to ask “where are you going to play today” – and step into the gaming venue of your choice in the Metaverse. To help us with this, smartphone makers are working on augmented reality glasses that will integrate perfectly with our phones.
But further down the line, we might not even need glasses to step into the metaverse: holograms are slowly becoming a reality. A team at MIT created a new way to generate holograms that don’t require supercomputers – it can run on a smartphone.
But there’s something that can literally shape the future of smartphones: foldable batteries. This innovation, along with the rollable displays recently showcased by manufacturers like LG and Lenovo, will have the potential to literally change the shape of future smartphones.
There’s an entire generation already that thinks that the current smartphones with their 5”+ displays are way too big. With these new batteries and displays, manufacturers will be able to roll out phones that will not only fold but possibly wrap around our wrists or simply roll up, fitting into even the tiniest and tightest pockets.
These are just a few examples of the exciting new technologies that are currently being developed that have the potential to change the way we think about and use smartphones. It’s an exciting time to be following the advancements in this field. Of course, a bigger battery capacity and an even sharper camera are nice – but it’s more of the same. We can’t wait to see truly innovative and revolutionary features being rolled out that will change the way we look at smartphones forever.