Some say the Smartphone has reached its potential, and that it’s dead or dying. Others say Smartphones were and are a paradigm technology shift that’s here to stay — a business and personal necessity.
To be sure Smartphones as they exist right now seem to be rather tweaked out, commoditized, even a bit boring. All the hype in the world doesn’t make an infinity screen a game changer. But like it or not, you’ll never miss another email, call or text, because nearly everyone, and we do mean everyone, has a “Smartphone.” And while some are smarter than others, they are all beginning to look and perform – well — pretty much alike.
So, what’s not next?
Smartwatches and similar wearables have made modest inroads, but only in niche markets such as health and fitness. First-generation Google Glass was a resounding flop. And smartwatches experienced a near 52% third quarter loss, 2016, over the same period 2015 according to the International Data Corporation that tracks such things. Recent failures don’t mean the concepts behind wearables are dead, just that they haven’t evolved into something universally useful or visually acceptable.
What is next?
In the near term, The “Smartphone” may become an augmented device where voice interaction, augmented reality, and holographics are integral to the unit in one form or another whether by delivery or physical asset. In any event, our business and personal lives will see some important technology shifts.
Intelligent voice command and control will continue to improve and be huge. Thumb typing on tiny screens is not a particularly innovative way to input, no matter how proficient we become at it.
Incorporate a nano hologram material into the phone to project three-dimensional holographic images from those tiny screens, and the technology actually begins to become something else. RMIT University, an Australian public research university located in Melbourne, Victoria, is developing some leading edge technology. A video is here
And while your mobile may first look like a modified Smartphone, it may move to something flexible enough to roll up or fold, or even eventually become a modified eye device that overcomes the stigma of the original Google Glass.
Alex Kipman of Microsoft feels the potential of these devices,” is that they may one day “replace your phones, TVs, and all these screens.” When your apps, videos, information, and even social life project into your line of sight, you won’t need any other screen-based gadgetry. Kipman calls it the “natural conclusion” of mixed reality.
Magic Leap, a secretive group in Florida, has Google’s attention, as well as some other significant players mixed reality technology. Those fortunate enough to visit have been duly impressed – though amazed might be a better descriptive. What’s it like? See the daily motion video where NBA player Andre Iguodala describes his experience with Magic leap
In short, as long as chips continue to get smaller and more powerful, and technophiles keep pushing boundaries, Smartphones — as we know them — may actually be obsolete in the not too distant future.