WOF: What should be the next major development in smartphones?

By on January 25, 2013, 7:00 PM

Smartphones have come a long way since the first PDAs with phone capabilities hit the market. But as the market matures it's getting increasingly difficult for companies to come up with truly revolutionary new features year after year.

Off the top of my head I can think of a few things I'd like to see in the next few years: longer lasting batteries, perfected voice recognition, devices powerful enough for some serious gaming beamed onto the living room TV, and on the carriers' side 'affordable' unlimited mobile broadband.

But what about all the other futuristic things that are promised to us at trade shows? Flexible displays and built in HD projectors? NFC-based mobile payments? Perhaps wearable computing projects like Google Glass will take off and bring the smartphone functions into the fold? In this Weekend Open Forum we want to ask, what do you think will be the next major development in the smartphone world?




User Comments: 38

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8 people like this | captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

It should be illegal to sell them locked.

psycros psycros said:

What they'll try to push: expensive high end tablets with LTE, wearable devices, augmented reality, real-time outdoor/indoor location reporting to social networks, phones with advanced sensors (infrared thermometer, scent, etc).

What we'll actually want: the things you mentioned off the top of your head. In addition I expect to see most phones go prepaid: low and mid-range devices will be available off-contract at launch, and many will only be sold prepaid. Most people will only be getting the newest and hottest devices on contract 2-3 years from now. I also expect a minor renaissance for physical keyboards as phones and tablets replace laptops for more people.

TS-56336 TS-56336 said:

Er, the megapixel phenomenon?

Xclusiveitalian Xclusiveitalian said:

Sooner or later a chip put into your brain will be the phone and your vision will display everything.

1 person liked this | Dukenukemx Dukenukemx said:

What about the Mozilla Seabird?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oG3tLxEQEdg

1 person liked this |
Staff
Julio Franco Julio Franco, TechSpot Editor, said:

Without going all Star Trek about it, I'm looking forward three things:

* Flexible displays = Smaller devices without sacrificing on usability

* Longer battery life = Obvious

* More processing power = A true PC in your pocket

Littleczr Littleczr said:

I wan't to be able to say, "computer!.. Turn on and tabbed techspot.com new stories", "also, tabb my e-mails and load my facebook page.". I want to say that every morning, wheter its on my pc or my cell phone. I want cell phones to make life easier for me.

3 people like this | hitech0101 said:

People realizing that iphones aren't worth what they pay for, wait that's never gonna happen.

Skidmarksdeluxe Skidmarksdeluxe said:

Apart from far better battery life I personally don't want anything else, in fact I'm more partial to my old Samsung feature phone than my SIII.

psycros psycros said:

Apart from far better battery life I personally don't want anything else, in fact I'm more partial to my old Samsung feature phone than my SIII.

Nothing wrong with that. Sometimes simpler is better. Personally I think the Nokia E-series was the pinnacle of high usability for day-to-day tasks. A shame they started making them too small for human hands.

2 people like this | captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

How about a worldwide chain of rehabilitation centers catering exclusively the cellular phone addiction! Once they're fully staffed and the website is up and running, you'll be able to check yourself in by voice, text, web, or Skype, right from behind the wheel of your car.....

1 person liked this | Punkid said:

Edge to edge displays...and I hope no transparent displays, they're utterly stupid...

Better battery ofc, and loads of processing power to spare

amstech amstech, TechSpot Enthusiast, said:

I think you will see projectors built into phones, Acer already makes one that fits in your pocket.

misor misor said:

Battery life >week with heavy usage

bigger and cheaper built-in storage

bigger and cheaper memory expansion cards (haven't see a64gb microsd for <20$)

hahahanoobs hahahanoobs said:

Edge to Edge curved displays, better battery, maybe some kind of built in screen cover.

I'd also like to see Android OS fragmentation disappear, or I'd like to see Android disappear and have Ubuntu OS phones come in (assuming the OS will be better).

hahahanoobs hahahanoobs said:

It should be illegal to sell them locked.

HELL YEA!, carriers have some nerve trying to offer something their competitors don't! Proprietors and exclusivity should go the way of the dodo!!!

:|

Punkid said:

Edge to Edge curved displays, better battery, maybe some kind of built in screen cover.

I'd also like to see Android OS fragmentation disappear, or I'd like to see Android disappear and have Ubuntu OS phones come in (assuming the OS will be better).

lol why would you want the display to be curved? maybe you mean fold-able so you can fit it into a pocket?

and so much hate for android :P

I think you will see projectors built into phones, Acer already makes one that fits in your pocket.

there are other projector phones too, samsung made the galaxy bean I think...but they suck...2 problems: they draw tooo much power, and secondly, projectors just suck :p and im not even talking about mobile projectors...lets hope for a breakthrough in projector tech (laser projectors maybe ? ), then I would hope for that too :p

Kneep said:

I actually like my Windows phone as is, I'd just like to see a way to have a holographic image of it pop out double in size so I don't have to wear my glasses to text

hahahanoobs hahahanoobs said:

lol why would you want the display to be curved? maybe you mean fold-able so you can fit it into a pocket?

and so much hate for android :p

there are other projector phones too, samsung made the galaxy bean I think...but they suck...2 problems: they draw tooo much power, and secondly, projectors just suck :p and im not even talking about mobile projectors...lets hope for a breakthrough in projector tech (laser projectors maybe ? ), then I would hope for that too :p

LOL@projector phone. What the fack does that have to do with my comment? But yea, I prefer sharp images, not sharp images blown up to blurry ones.

No, I mean curved. Foldable coming later.

I have no hate for android. I have a dislike for Google/Carriers for how they handle OS updates. My Galaxy S running JB 4.2 (Slim Bean) and LG Optimus 4G LTE running JB 4.1.2 (CM10) prove that. Maybe you love GB or ICS because you only use your phone to make calls, but I'm a techie, and I want it all... for all.

Punkid said:

LOL@projector phone. What the fack does that have to do with my comment? But yea, I prefer sharp images, not sharp images blown up to blurry ones.

No, I mean curved. Foldable coming later.

I have no hate for android. I have a dislike for Google/Carriers for how they handle OS updates. My Galaxy S running JB 4.2 (Slim Bean) and LG Optimus 4G LTE running JB 4.1.2 (CM10) prove that. Maybe you love GB or ICS because you only use your phone to make calls, but I'm a techie, and I want it all... for all.

the projector thing was in reply to another persons comments...

and ive got CM10 on my Xperia Arc too lol...but yeah, carriers/OEMS dont handle OS updates well...

hahahanoobs hahahanoobs said:

the projector thing was in reply to another persons comments...

Touche

1 person liked this | spydercanopus spydercanopus said:

I want the entire face to be usable display.

learninmypc learninmypc said:

An app to tell the driver which exterior light on his/her vehicle is malfunctioning before the law pulls them over.

kissx kissx said:

I will be happy with longer battery life.

JimTG said:

What about the Mozilla Seabird?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oG3tLxEQEdg

WOW!

I had worked for the telephone company for a lot of years and remember hearing a presentation by the VP Engineering (during the '90s) about the future of cell phone technology. He said that cell phones would become much smaller and become like **** Tracy's wrist watch phone. At the time, cell phones were the size of a brick and about as heavy. Current cell/smart phones have surpassed his projections.

I like the Mozilla Seabird model!

t3chn0vamp said:

It should be illegal to sell them locked.

+1

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

HELL YEA!, carriers have some nerve trying to offer something their competitors don't! Proprietors and exclusivity should go the way of the dodo!!!

:|

I have no idea whether you're serious about this. If you are, you are so far off the chart naive and brainwashed, you scare me.

The whole locked phone concept, is a clandestine reiteration of the telephone monopoly era.

A,T, &T was broken up by the government, under the Sherman Anti-Trust Act, and other companies were allowed to enter the business.

Prior to that breakup, you weren't allowed to buy your telephone. A, T, & T jacked you up with an exorbitant monthly rental fee.

Fast forward to now. How is it any different for a wireless carrier to force you into their phone, slam your bill with it's price, and mask whatever interest they're making on it, in the dark corners of your "contract"?

I don't stare slack jawed at the TV in amazement and gratitude when they tell you you're going to get a free phone, and money back with a 2 year contract. They added those monies in, before they ever filmed the advertisement, then they subtract them when the ad runs.

Now, if the telecoms had to compete for your business in an unlocked phone world, they would actually have to innovate more, rather than less, to keep you as a customer.

As the the cost of the phone, it's like anything else in America, put it on a credit card. That way, you'd know what you were being charged for it, and the interest rate on it. After which, the telecoms would have to adjust their billing, (most likely downward), because then, the consumer would actually know how much they were paying for the services they use.

Bad credit, no problem, Verizon and Comcast offer their own credit card, targeted at a 2 year pay off of the phone.

The price of the phone is specified, the amount of interest is specified. Plus you can stay with the carrier if you choose after the phone. If you like their pricing and service, you'll stay. It seems to me like that would keep them "innovating", as well as honest

So, I've lived through the telephone monopoly era, and sorry to inform you, you're a "hahahanoob" at it.

(captaincranky and his silly comments, I know right).

hahahanoobs hahahanoobs said:

I have no idea....

You're right, you don't. Stick to paying business for services, because you surely don't know how to run one.

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

You're right, you don't. Stick to paying business for services, because you surely don't know how to run one.
This is the 3rd millennium, business need to be retaught this basic fact, "the customer is always right, and if he or she isn't, you have to treat them like they are anyway".

Large businesses like Apple and Comcast, believe that they're entitled to the entirety of a person's "disposable income". I tend to think they're parasites, on the order of your run of the mill flea, tick, leech, or oil sheik..

veLa veLa said:

I just want unlimited data...

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

I just want unlimited data...
Just don't "jailbreak" your phone. I'm not going to bake you a cake with a file in it,so that you can "jailbreak" yourself afterwards.....:oops:

hahahanoobs hahahanoobs said:

This is the 3rd millennium, business need to be retaught this basic fact, "the customer is always right, and if he or she isn't, you have to treat them like they are anyway".

Large businesses like Apple and Comcast, believe that they're entitled to the entirety of a person's "disposable income". I tend to think they're parasites, on the order of your run of the mill flea, tick, leech, or oil sheik..

Wow, you have had such a hard life. You make life on the street seem glamorous, because at least they didn't have the horrible experiences you had with AT&T and Comcast. You poor poor thing.

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

Wow, you have had such a hard life. You make life on the street seem glamorous, because at least they didn't have the horrible experiences you had with AT&T and Comcast. You poor poor thing.
Why didn't you leave your response at this......?

You clearly talk just to hear yourself.
Because then I would have said either, "clearly you put up crap like that because you don't ave a plausible rebuttal", or, clearly thinking of yourself on the business side of the issue, has caused you to believe you're entitled to as much as you feel like asking for whatever product or service you have to "offer".

IvanAwfulitch IvanAwfulitch said:

The next big jumps in smartphone computing should be in heat dispersal, processor and wiring sizes, and battery life all in conjunction.

We don't have pocket computers for several very good reasons. First is size. The components we can make are still at a fairly large size comparatively. It is only recently that we've been even looking at things like 14 nanometer production as something feasible. And if something is too big, it will not fit in the device, or it will require too much power and put out too much heat. Therefore, size is priority number one. The smaller the size, the less heat results, and the more you can fit inside a device.

Second, is heat, as I suggested a moment ago. If you tried to put a big 2 gigahertz quad core inside of a pocket sized device, you'd burn a hole in your jeans. You'd be very surprised by how much heat is output by even something as small as the stuff that's in your phone. How much heat the components give off and how the device can vent heat is a very big concern. It has to be made from materials that disperse heat very well so that you don't even notice that's even warm in the first place. You also can't feasibly put a fan inside of a device. Not to mention, who here wants a little fan whirring in their ear when they are making a phone call? Nobody. Heat dispersal is priority number two.

And third is power consumption. I don't know how many of you are really familiar with processors in mobile devices, but you might be surprised to learn that little dual core you've got in your iPhone is using no more than a volt of electricity. ONE VOLT! A SINGLE VOLT! UNO! EINZ! That seriously limits the size of the core you can put in it, how fast it runs, and all sorts of other things that govern how it functions. We as a technical society have to figure out how to use that single volt to output as much processing power as possible while giving off an insignificant amount of heat and not draining the battery within minutes. It's a herculean task at the moment without making the device cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.

These are the three areas I want to see phones advance in. It's not a big problem to have a flexible screen or an interface that covers the entire face of the device. That's all superficial stuff that could be easily implemented. I believe that if you want to see some serious advances in how these things work, we need to see improvement in those major areas of technology that I've just talked about.

jamiek jamiek said:

I'd like them to print money.

tonylukac said:

Lower bills. I don't see the attraction of a $100 bill a month when voip landlines can charge as little as $4/month. So I can't surf the web while driving.

Tygerstrike said:

I would like to see the holographic keyboard. TRUE 3D viewing. A better battery. Which is a common complaint but kinda silly when you figure that a pair of rechargable AA carries 2x the mAh. And better TV hookups that are simplier to use.

1 person liked this | St1ckM4n St1ckM4n said:

Battery life and NFC need to get off the ground. There is so much amazing untapped potential in NFC.

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