The frontiers of mobile technology expand exponentially every few years. Twenty years ago, Apple hadn’t even released its first iPhone. Back in 2002, Verizon was rolling out its very first 3G network which was considered revolutionary at the time. Judging by these not-so-distant developments, smartphones are evolving at an unfathomable pace.
So, where will we be ten years into the future? What about twenty? The future seems limitless. Though there probably (still) won’t be commercially viable flying cars for another decade at least, there’s almost certainly an unrecognizable advancement penciled in for smartphones. After all, the future will be increasingly digital and increasingly mobile.
The only question is — would we recognize a mobile phone in the future?
Baby Steps Toward Tech Leaps
Mobile device updates are already happening at a rapid pace, changing the way we live, work and play. People can keep tabs on their health with a smartphone. Companies are working on rolling out 6G which would enable movie downloads in seconds and graphics are being revolutionized for OLED displays.
Advanced display systems will mark one of the biggest changes for mobile gamers in the future. Gamers today can access their favorite online casino titles and even live casinos from their mobile devices. Better and more immersive display technology will surely transform live sports viewing too.
Visuals are only going to improve over time, expanding in detail and in scale as mobile technology evolves. And speaking of scale, smartphones of the future may not be nearly as fixed and clunky as they are now. Let’s dive into three of the craziest predictions for future mobile phone technology.
The foldable Samsung form factor has made waves in recent years, but Android developers aren’t stopping at a dual-screen display. For example, Samsung Galaxy’s Z Fold 3 lets users flip their phones to double their screen size. But in the future, Samsung might release a phone with a stretchable screen.
This would let a user physically stretch out the screen to enhance the display size when watching videos. And it’s not just the screen that would stretch, but multiple facets in the phone. If it sounds like a sci-fi dream, it’s not. In September 2021, Samsung showed off a stretchable display that could turn 2D images into living 3D scenes.
The Wildest of the Wild: Ambient Smartphones
What if the smartphone simply doesn’t exist in the future? What if the phone is an ambient presence that follows us? Instead of relying on a hand-held smartphone, the device’s full suite of services would ‘track’ us. In other words, the smartphone’s technology would be accessible wherever there’s a sufficient display and internet connection—whether at a bus stop, in the mirror, or in our cars.
But how, exactly, would this work? For now, it’s a pipedream that’s based on emerging cloud technology. Cloud technology lets a user store data and information outside of their hardware. It’s a critical aspect of the Internet of Things (IoT). IoT technology is when unrelated pieces of hardware share information, such as a home security system, smart heating and cooling, fitness wearables, and more.
In ambient computing, these IoT devices would be even more streamlined for non-physical functionality. In other words, the world around us will be fitted with enough smart sensors that our ‘smartphone’ is simply a tailored program that follows us wherever we go. And almost any ordinary object would be equipped to connect us to our ambient smartphone, including a shopping cart at the grocery store, a toothbrush, or even a rental car.
One of the coolest aspects of mobile phone technology is customization features. These allow users to change their software or hardware to suit their needs and interests. Could smartphones in the future be better equipped to change colors, rather than consumers buying a red or green phone?
Back in 2020, OnePlus announced the start of development on its 8T Concept phone, which includes color-changing technology for its back panel. The back panel changes colors according to certain stimuli and circumstances, which a user can customize. Going forward, this flexibility will spread to almost every aspect of a smartphone’s hardware display.
Of course, color-shifting phones seem like a gimmicky and small advancement as compared to ambient smartphones. But we can picture them becoming trendy for a while.
Not Exactly A Prediction About Mobile Phones: Smart Eyeglasses
While Samsung tackles a foldable and stretchable display, Google remains focused on perfecting its smart eyeglasses. However, there are still roadblocks when it comes to replacing smartphones with these devices. At the moment, smart eyeglasses are being explored as a mixed reality device that would include AR graphics.
In other words, they would provide all the necessities that a phone does, projecting visuals into space, but would be navigable from a buttonless set of glasses. For now, that means leading companies must find a way to connect eye movement to navigation — and eye-tracking technology is only in its infancy.