Nobody could have predicted how much smartphones would evolve in a decade about ten years ago. However, smartphone technology has advanced to the point where the first smartphones appear primitive.
When it comes to information access, modern smartphones are now the preferred platform. We used to use a plethora of devices to check the weather, take photos, read email, and listen to music. Today, however, we can find anything on our smartphone.
Mobile phones have become an extension of ourselves, and they have forever changed our lives. More than 80% of the world’s population owns a cell phone, with over a billion of these being smartphones. We look at our phones 150 times per day on average, and some people get extremely anxious if they forget to bring their phone with them.
Smartphones will continue to evolve, despite the fact that the rate of development appears to have slowed recently. Some predict that they will become remote controls for our lives, while others believe they will be incorporated into wearable devices such as glasses or watches.
Screens will also be brighter and fold in different ways; cameras will be so advanced that they will compete with high-end SLRs, and digital assistants will be even smarter.
But what will our phones look like in the next ten years? Here’s what we believe will occur.
Say goodbye to wired chargers with over-the-air charging.
Assume you’ve run out of battery and don’t have a charger with you. That won’t be an issue in a few years, as the next generation of smart devices are expected to be wirelessly charged over the air. It will not be like current wireless charging: radio waves could be used, which would also be more environmentally friendly.
There have been numerous rumours that Elon Musk is planning to release a smartphone called the Tesla Model Pi. What little information is available online is mostly speculative, but it paints a picture of a flagship-level device with a solar-powered battery.
Other, more predictable rumours claim that Musk intends for the phone to be deeply integrated with Tesla vehicles, but there is no word on when it will be released.
6G technology allows you to download movies in seconds.
As the name implies, 6G is the sixth generation of mobile connectivity. Although 5G is not yet available in all areas, Samsung is already testing early versions of 6G modems with the University of California. They could provide download speeds that are 50 times faster than 5G, which can already provide multi-gigabit speeds.
6G is a significant technical challenge because it requires expanding the spectrum to 3,000 GHz (3THz – Terahertz), as well as building new antennas and other infrastructure.
A group of Chinese researchers recently sent 1 TB of data 1 km away in one second. That is approximately 8000 Mbps, or 8 Gbps. Tsinghua School of Space Engineering in Beijing was able to simultaneously broadcast over 10,000 high-definition videos. As a result, China appears to be taking the lead in this type of technology: the country holds more than 40% of the patents in this field.
However, what would the arrival of 6G mean in terms of practicality in our lives?
Much faster web browsing, even lower latency, the ability to download a movie in seconds, increased energy efficiency, and truly immersive augmented reality are all possibilities (including holographic communications, and interconnected, automated artificial intelligence).
6G technology, which is expected to be available in devices around 2030, will be able to connect to much more complex devices such as self-driving cars, flying vehicles, and drones, among others.
Will folding phones gain popularity?
Foldable phones have the potential to change the way people consume content. To perform a specific task, these devices can change size. They can transform from a small smartphone to a tablet-like device when unfolded. As a result, smartphones and tablets may merge.
Once again, Samsung is on top, with 9 out of 10 folding phones sold so far bearing the company’s logo. With a 52% market share, the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3 has been the most popular foldable.
Other companies, such as Huawei, Honor, and Oppo, have been working on folding phones for a long time, and rumours suggest that a folding iPhone is not far away.
However, folding phones are still too expensive to compete with “normal” smartphones, and we’ll have to wait a few more years for foldables to become more affordable. Foldable phones are expected to account for nearly 10% of total smartphone sales by 2030.
Artificial Intelligence that is smarter
In the next ten years, artificial intelligence will become even more powerful and will play a critical role in our lives. If artificial intelligence (AI) is already a key feature in today’s smartphones in areas like voice assistants, photography, augmented reality, and real-time language translation, future devices will be even smarter.
Future artificial intelligence may make more complex and human-like decisions. It could be the hub of a suite of smart devices such as entertainment, connected cars, or home automation, capable of making restaurant reservations for you, recommending new experiences, reading bedtime stories to the kids, managing your schedule, and organising your purchases.
The Smartphone’s Future in 2030
Artificial intelligence may be able to understand our emotions in the not-too-distant future. Huawei is already hard at work on this. Your device could serve as a psychologist, cheering you up when you’re down and advising you when you’re feeling overwhelmed. It could even become a friend or confidant of yours.
Holographic displays are no longer the stuff of science fiction.
Holograms have appeared in recent science fiction and fantasy films such as Star Wars, Blade Runner 2049, I, Robot, and Iron Man.
Smartphones in 2030 may use holographic display technologies to render 3D images or videos that float above the device and can be viewed from any angle without the need for 3D glasses.
Smartphones that lack ports and buttons
Another emerging trend in the coming years is the development of mobile devices with no ports or buttons, only screens. In fact, many of today’s smartphones have already abandoned the 3.5mm headphone jack in favour of Bluetooth.
The Smartphone’s Future in 2030
The USB port on mobile devices is also expected to be phased out. The first concepts, including Vivo’s 2019 Apex, have already been developed by Vivo and Meizu. Some laptop manufacturers are also investigating port-less models. However, China is once again at the forefront of this approach.
What if the smartphone vanishes into thin air?
We can’t predict what technological changes mobile devices will bring in the next ten years, but we do know that smartphones have become an indispensable part of our daily lives.
Of course, the big question is: what technology will replace the smartphone? Bill Gates recently stated that electronic tattoos will usher in the next generation of technology. These would involve printing microchips onto a patch that sticks to your skin to monitor and collect personal information, such as medical or exercise data.
In-depth studies on possible electronic tattoos are currently being conducted with the collaboration of companies such as Google or Chaotic Moon Studios, an American company that sees the potential of the technology and is investing in its development.
Elon Musk envisions a time when humans will merge with machines, allowing us to change bodies when our current one no longer serves us well enough, or even transplant our memories if our brain fails to function properly. His point is that unless we do, artificial intelligence will render us obsolete.
Furthermore, this technology is already being developed at Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Washington universities. Isn’t it amazing?
Many of these forecasts are just that. We may see very different technologies by 2030 than we do today. Are we ready for them if they come true? That is, of course, a completely different topic.