Smartphone innovation has slowed down in the past few years, and that’s a good thing. Instead of launching gimmicky new features like 3D cameras or selfie cameras with laser detection, manufacturers have been focussing on making their phones better from top to bottom. Everything from build quality to user experience has gotten a huge upgrade recently. But as the smartphone market matures, it’s worth thinking about where things are headed next. If you think about the smartphones of 2022, what do you see? Improved voice assistants and natural language processing? More VR integration and support for standalone headsets? Possibly even quantum computing for secure data encryption? Anything is possible at this point. But by looking back at recent innovations, we can get an idea of which features might become commonplace in five years’ time. Here are some of the best possibilities for the future of smartphones…
Double-fold screens and flexible displays
Smartphones right now are very rigid in their design. This is partly to make them easier to manufacture, but it also contributes to their aesthetics. A smartphone like the Samsung Galaxy S10 doesn’t need a foldable display because it already has a curved edge-to-edge screen. But what if there was a way to make that curved display even more seamless? If you look at the way that tablets and e-readers have evolved, you notice that manufacturers keep striving for a more paper-like reading experience. So the obvious progression for smartphones is toward a foldable screen that’s almost completely borderless. Foldable screens are still in their infancy, but if manufacturers can figure out a way to make them durable and cost-effective, they could become the norm in the next few years.
Smarter AI assistants
Android smartphones are already super-smart devices, but as AI tech continues to evolve, they’re only going to get better. Right now, we’re on the brink of a major shift towards voice-activated assistants like Google Assistant, Amazon’s Alexa, and Apple’s Siri. Voice assistants are the foundation of many AI-based services and apps, and they’re only going to improve as the technology matures. There’s very little in the way of hard evidence, but it seems likely that smartphone manufacturers will start to integrate their assistants even more closely with their devices in the future. Perhaps they’ll even manage to sidestep the privacy issues associated with Amazon and Google’s services.
Augmented and Virtual Reality
The smartphone revolution has brought about a huge paradigm shift in the way we consume media, and the next few years will see VR and AR become even more interwoven with our daily lives. There’s been a lot of hype around VR in recent years, but it’s definitely not going anywhere. If anything, it’s only going to become more integrated with our smartphones as standalone headsets like the Oculus Quest begin to take off. The next big hurdle for VR is to find a way to make it more socially interactive. There are lots of rumors about Apple’s next iPhone including support for AR, but it’s unlikely that they’ll integrate VR into the same device. This brings us to the next point…
Voice recognition for actions
Virtual assistants currently do a good job of understanding what you’re saying, but they aren’t very good at taking action. If you ask your Google Assistant to send an email, you have to sit there and tap out the message manually. But what if your smartphone could actually understand your voice to the point where it could take action for you? That’s something that researchers have been working on for a while now, and it’s definitely possible. The trick is to build a system that’s robust enough to deal with all sorts of different accents and environments. But if smartphones can manage to do this, they’d become a whole lot more useful.
With all the technological advances of the past decade, and the ones coming in the next 10 years, there is no telling what will be possible. However, with all of these advancements, we can expect one thing; our smartphones will be much more powerful than they are right now. Smartphones have become such an integral part of our lives that it’s hard to imagine life without them. And it looks like these devices are only going to become more essential as time goes on.
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