As we all know, technology is an ever-evolving process in which the triumphs of today become the thoughts of yesterday in the blink of an eye. At a faster and faster pace, it continues to shape everything around us by becoming embedded in every aspect of our lives. Over the past thirty years, cell phones have dramatically altered in appearance and functionality and have become an extended appendage for many people upon which they rely. Throughout this article, we will explore ten cell phone trends that will impact not only the world of cell phones, but the whole at-large over the next ten years.
One change in cell phone functionality that will occur over the next ten years is the ability for cell phones to be physically flexible, screen and all. Many initially thought that these developments were years off, but it appears that flexible cell phones are practically here. Samsung plans to release its Galaxy Skin phone in 2012 and it supposedly utilizes an AMOLED flexible screen and the entire unit can be rolled up around a one-inch in diameter cylinder. Within five years, a variety of flexible, bendable cell phones will be on the market and securely wrapped around people's wrists.
Increased demand for solutions that charge one's phone will lead to advanced, portable fuel-cell and solar charging solutions over the next ten years. With solar power becoming cheaper, more and more devices are utilizing ways to harness this energy. We have begun to see the era of solar-charger phone cases and will continue to see new developments such as solar-embedded clothing. Fuel cell technologies such as PowerTrekk use water and a battery to generate mobile power for a phone or other USB device.
Within the next five years, it is safe to assume that the concept of debit and credit cards will have virtually gone extinct. Mobile payment processing is finally picking up steam in the U.S., after much squabbling over how any revenues would be divided. Instead of swiping a card, we will be swiping our phones using NFC technology, which is already a standard feature on virtually all newly-manufactured cell phones. We will be entering our account information into a app which in turn is used to make the purchase by waving the phone near a NFC reader.
As time marches on, phones will become even more sophisticated through the use of nanotechnology. Atomic-sized particles will be able to respond individually to programmed commands from the phone, being able to act as sensors and display information. Imagine that your entire phone can act as a screen or consider taking a photograph and indicating to the phone to match its exterior to a certain color scheme or pattern in said photo. Phones will also be able to sense what is in the air, food or drink or even one's body.
There is an ever-growing demand for mobile location-based services and this trend will continue in the coming years. Users of mobile technology will be able to harness their phones to observe the world around them, taking in comments, reviews and active discussions about and going on in the area. This will also apply to how information is presented to you; a mobile device will alert you to possible nearby interests based on prior search history and locations visited. Ultimately, services like this will provide input on everything from leisure to advertisements.
In the coming years, memory and storage will be exponentially increased in all cell phone applications. We have seen the size of memory in mobile devices virtually double every year and this trend will continue in the same fashion. Unfortunately, the trend of technology making everything require more space – such as more detailed photos, higher quality MP3s and better movies – will also continue. Ten years down the road, the most basic cell phone will have more memory than some of the most beefy PCs do today.
It is very possible that the current standard of Lithium Ion batteries will be replaced with new, more advanced battery types that draw their sources of power from various renewable instances. In some instances, batteries may charge themselves and need no external output; imagine a battery with a built-in solar pack that harnesses energy directly from the sky. Even better are batteries that use electrolysis to charge items using salt and water; batteries utilizing existing conductivity in the human body or energy created by wind are also possible.
While many are used to having their phone's information in one place, virtually all aspects of personal mobile computing will be available from any device, anywhere in the world thanks to cloud technology. Individuals will effectively be able to place calls, send messages and otherwise communicate using their phone's information without actually having the phone. Left it at home? That's OK; sign-in on a different device to your phone's account and redirect all calls, messages and other forms of communication directly to the alternative device.
With fiber optics, wireless technology and mobile computing, the home and the phone will become intertwined and fully accessible. While older homes may take time to adjust, newly-constructed abodes will take into account the mobile device and have infrastructure in place to allow for doors to be locked, windows to be opened, lights to be turned on and off as well as easy access to any electronic in the home. And because the mobile device in essence can be accessed from anywhere (including another device), you can access your home's security and functions from anywhere, too.
Perhaps one of the biggest changes over the next ten years is the idea that a cell phone itself will not exist. Over the past ten years, the definition of a cell phone has changed dramatically, from purely a voice-communications device to a multi-featured communications device that allows for voice, text, and data. Ten more years of augmentation and improvements may very well see the end of traditional voice communication devices and other phones and see them replaced by devices that instead transcribe what one is saying into text and beams it to the other person in real-time.
The changes in mobile technology over the next ten years will be vast and far-reaching. It remains to be seen exactly how the industry will Transform and what that will mean for all of us. One thing is for sure: the progress of technology will continue to march on, constantly morphing and impacting how each of us interacts with one another.