Smartphones have become an integral part of our daily lives, far surpassing the mere need to make and receive phone calls or send text messages, with over half of people accessing the internet doing so from their phones.
How much further can the technology of the Smartphone progress?
Below are 5 possible new directions for the continued evolution of the Smartphone.
1. Augmented Reality
Augmented reality is the ability to enhance our senses, in this case, sight, with the use of computer technology.
For example, with the inbuilt camera on one’s phone, one can point a scene and be able to elicit more information about what one is looking at, e.g. nearby hotels, accommodation or cafés. With the use of GPS (global positioning system) which all Smartphones have, this is a real possibility.
For this to work, however, the standardisation of how locations are recognised needs to be developed further.
2. Is there a Doctor in the House?
Smartphones could easily become a feature in assessing our health. Smartphones and fitness monitors are already capable of monitoring our heart rate and sleep patterns. In the future, however, blood pressure to pulse rate, blood flow velocity, and even the condition of one’s skin can be measured by a Smartphone.
This is achieved by what is known as an “Advanced Laser Speckle Interferometric Sensor” where the phone fires a laser beam at the skin – thus enabling it to track the pulse of the arteries and collate the data.
A Portable Projector?
Developers are looking at the potential for portable technology based on Smartphones. This can be done on the basis of what is already out there (Lenovo Yoga 2, which has a projector feature) andwould make sense for a lot of people – especially those that use PowerPoint who would find having a Windows system with an internal projector very useful.
If a projector lens were slotted at the top of a Smartphone, one could then carry a built-in large screen that could be projected onto a blank wall.
4. Wearable and Flexible Smartphones
If you are like the writer, a great amount of time is spent looking for one’s Smartphone. Suppose we could wear it?
Nokia is currently working on a prototype called “Morph” where the user can wear the phone as a wristwatch and unfold it to use as a normal handset if needed.
Samsung has already patented plans to develop fully flexible phones that will not shatter if dropped – rather will bend – and building curves into phones so they can be flexed around the user’s wrist.
eyeCam is working on a wearable Smartphone that has a projection interface which turns the user’s hand and fingers touchscreen display, controller and 3D mouse.
5. Your Bank in Your Smartphone!
Tanzania and Kenya have the biggest percentage of the world’s mobile money transactions.
For example – in Kenya it is easier to pay for a taxi using a Smartphone and the M-Pesa system, where one can transfer credits to another person’s M-Pesa account.
In the west Google Wallet and Apple enable the user to turn their Smartphone into a credit card.
According to a study done in 2016 by Demandware, Smartphones accounted for 45.1 % of online shopping in the first quarter of the year, and this is project to leapfrog ahead in the coming years.
We are unlikely to see the actual shape of the Smartphone change according to some experts; however the flexibility of use is sure to increase!