Every now and then a brand-new technology comes along that completely changes the game. We could think of the invention of the telephone, the television, or the first battery as some such technologies. Far more often tough new technology works with what has gone before, and ultimately upgrades, develops and improves it. And sometimes, this can be a process that continues over decades, and even centuries. Did you know, for example, that the first battery was invented over two hundred years ago? That is a long process of development to get us to where we are today, with USB rechargeable smart batteries or the solar-powered lithium-ion smart batteries increasingly used in electric cars. All these technologies are essentially “batteries”, they just get better and better. The same is true of the television, the radio, the car, the train, and many more such technologies. Cellphones, however, are a little different.
What is a “Phone”?
What actually is a cell phone? It has been often pointed out that the term “phone” isn’t really appropriate anymore. For sure, these devices can make voice calls, but with everything else they do and with everything else that they are frequently used for, to think of them merely as phones is perhaps a little misleading. “Pocket computer” might be a better term, but then again old names have a tendency of sticking.
When we think of the development of the modern smartphone in light of the whole history of the telephone, there have certainly been some huge milestones to get us to where we are now. The first time a telephone became portable, we invented the “mobile phone”; and the first time they could utilize services such as the internet and make calculations, then we had discovered the “smartphone”. Unlike the aforementioned batteries, which have remained essentially the same thing (a chemical means of storing electrical energy) throughout their long history up until the smart batteries produced by companies like Pale Blue Earth out of Utah, smartphones are constantly becoming new things. And this invites a tantalizing speculation – where will they go next?
The Smartphones of the Future
It is generally accepted that certain new smartphone technologies are only just around the corner. Here follows some of the most exciting:
Stretchable Screens and Foldable Phones
Sometimes you need to look backwards to move forwards. Many of us remember the old flip phones that used to be ubiquitous around 15 years ago. It now seems that this principle of being able to make your phone more compact is making a comeback. Only this time, the technology is a little more impressive than a simple hinge. Future phones seem likely to have stretchable and foldable screens, allowing users to combine the compactness of a traditional cell phone with the large displays of tablets and laptops.
Wearable technology is very hot right now, with VR glasses and smart watches being all the rage. Smartphones seem likely to continue in this direction, becoming themselves an item of wearable technology. This could manifest as a bendy smartphone that can wrap around the wrist, or smartphones that are connected to other wearable technologies.
Banking and Mobile Payments
In one sense, we have already arrived at this particular development. However, smartphones could ultimately replace the credit card altogether, as more seamless technology and software is developed to turn smartphones into mobile payment devices.
The developments listed here are certainly not far away. Indeed, some are already with us in a limited form. Predicting too far ahead might be impossible, but it seems likely that we are heading there fast.