Thinking About Future Smartphones Based on Today’s Technology

by on 05/11/2017 in Cell Phones, Smartphones

It is always possible that we will discover a large, untapped cache of unobtainium. That material will become the basis of everything from smartphones to flying cars. Then the credits will roll on our very bad movie. In real life, technological advances seldom happen that way. It is not a revolutionary leap into space, but a long slog through the muck over evolutionary time.

So if we want to know something about the smartphones of tomorrow, we have to look at the technology we can access today. Right now, smartphones are pretty well defined. They have solved engineering problems. Small companies can produce inexpensive versions of them with off-the-shelf parts.

The have capacitive touchscreen, cameras, digital voice assistants, and biometric access. They are made from glass, plastic, and metal, with silicon internals and a large rechargeable battery.

So what happens if we stop calling these smartphones, and just call them phones? If the iPhone 7 and Galaxy S8 are just phones, what will define smartphones in the near future? Here are a few possibilities:

More Exotic Materials

Anyone interested in cornering the market on future smartphones should be looking into graphene sheets for sale. It is not because of what it can do for the outside of the phone, but the inside. Graphene stands to be the next silicon. Moore’s Law is coming to an end for silicon. But graphene may be just the thing to breathe new life into it.

Naturally, tech companies are salivating over how they might use the thinnest material in the world that can conduct heat better than diamond, and possibly electricity better than silver. While everyone is looking at the outside of the smartphone for exotic materials, the real material science breakthrough is happening on the inside. That boost in power and efficiency will power all other major advances.

AR/VR, and Other Possible Realities

Right now, virtual reality seems to be just another gaming technology for pretending to kill space aliens, monsters, and human combatants in wars from the past that unfolded in very different ways. It is more of an escape from reality where ordinary people living ordinary lives can pretend to be heroes that vanquished the enemy. It allows us to star in our own fantasy that has no resemblance at all to reality.

Augmented reality, on the other hand, is much more interesting.

Unfortunately, the only thing anyone seems to care about is gaming with regard to AR, in the form of Pokémon GO. This has the effect of pushing reality to the background while placing rendered objects and characters in the foreground. That does not augment reality. It demotes reality.

Augmenting reality would be taking reality, and making it more useful, or more accessible in some way. When you look at a building, you see information about it superimposed onto the scene. The same could happen when you look at a person.

Pointing your camera at a shirt could give you information like size, color, and washing instructions. Pointing at food can give you calorie information. It is not about gamifying or obscuring reality, but about enhancing it with information. Whatever it ends up being, it will be a feature of future smartphones.

IoT, and the Quest to Automate the World

Right now, IoT is in its infancy. But the future of IoT is the future of smartphones. It is not just about home automation. It is about automating everything. It is your home, your office, your car, and everything else you encounter.

Imagine going to a friend’s house and having your phone be able to access, understand, and control all of the systems in that house from heat to movies. Imagine controlling random gym equipment by giving a few voice commands to your phone. Right now, there are remote controls that can program themselves based on the devices connected to your home network. When IoT comes into its own, it will not be a feature of new smartphones. It will be the whole point.

Material science is paving the way for AR magic and IoT automation powered by tomorrow-phones. It is already starting to happen, and will soon be in a pocket near you.

One Response to “Thinking About Future Smartphones Based on Today’s Technology”

  1. Alex Soares

    Jun 8th, 2017

    The new technology is always welcome, but do you believe that I still have a Samsung Galaxy Y? Truth… Great post!